(19)
(11)EP 3 098 459 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
11.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/50

(21)Application number: 16169557.2

(22)Date of filing:  13.05.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F16B 37/06(2006.01)
F16B 5/06(2006.01)
F16B 5/02(2006.01)

(54)

AIRCRAFT STRUCTURE COMPRISING FASTENING DEVICE

FLUGZEUGSTRUKTUR MIT BEFESTIGUNGSVORRICHTUNG

STRUCTURE D'AÉRONEF AVEC DISPOSITIF DE FIXATION


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 29.05.2015 GB 201509305

(43)Date of publication of application:
30.11.2016 Bulletin 2016/48

(73)Proprietor: Airbus Operations Limited
Bristol BS34 7PA (GB)

(72)Inventors:
  • Christensen, Richard
    Bristol, Bristol BS34 7BD (GB)
  • Agadi, Harish
    Bristol, Bristol BS34 7BD (GB)
  • Randle, Lee
    Bristol, Bristol BS34 7BD (GB)

(74)Representative: Abel & Imray 
Westpoint Building James Street West
Bath BA1 2DA
Bath BA1 2DA (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 598 562
GB-A- 2 516 692
US-A- 2 401 824
DE-A1- 10 053 599
US-A- 1 690 078
US-A1- 2012 174 765
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to an aircraft structure according to independent claim 1.

    [0002] Many components in an aircraft are made out of composite materials, such as carbon fibre reinforced plastic, or glass fibre reinforced plastic. Aircraft also often comprise components made of metal. When joining a component made of a composite material to a component made of metal, it is desirable that any coupling between the two components is such that the coupling stress is reduced. This is particularly advantageous for composite components, which when loaded, or stressed, in certain directions may be vulnerable to damage or failure. Additionally, composite components are usually made with at least one datum face, with a closely controlled profile, and a non-datum face, where manufacturing tolerances may exist. When a composite component is joined to a metal component, the non-datum face is may be in contact with the metal component, meaning that there may be a gap between at least part of the contact surfaces between the composite component and metal component. Simply tightening a bolt through the composite component and metal component may act to close this gap, thereby potentially deforming the datum face of the composite component and also stressing the composite component. This may lead to damage or failure of the composite component, thereby requiring replacement or repair, and increasing aircraft maintenance time and cost.

    [0003] The paragraph above describes joining a composite component to a metal component. However, the problems raised by manufacturing tolerances may be even more pronounced when joining together two composite components. An aircraft structure comprising first and second components joined by a fastening device is known from EP 1 598 562 A1.

    [0004] The present invention seeks to mitigate the above-mentioned problems. Alternatively or additionally, the present invention seeks to provide an aircraft structure comprising an improved fastening device.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] The present invention provides, according to a first aspect, an aircraft structure, the aircraft structure comprising a first component and a second component, and a fastening device fastening the first component to the second component, wherein the fastening device comprises a clamping member, and a fastening member, the fastening member with a longitudinal axis, the clamping member located between the first component and second component such that the clamping member is movable in a first direction and is fixed in position in a second direction, the first direction being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the fastening member, wherein the fastening member extends through the second component into engagement with the clamping member and holds the clamping member against the second component, wherein the aircraft structure further comprises an anchor nut, the clamping member being connected to the anchor nut, characterised in that the clamping member is located on a first side of the first component and the anchor nut is located on a second, opposite, side of the first component, wherein the clamping member is connected to the anchor nut by at least two connection points, such connection points spaced with respect to each other, wherein the connection points are associated with distinct apertures through the first component, the apertures located such that rotational movement, or movement of the clamp in the plane of the first component, is prevented.

    [0006] The fastening device may act to securely hold the first component and second component in a fixed position relative to one another, in at least one direction, without applying a clamping force between the first component and second component.

    [0007] The first component may comprise a clamping member receiving portion, the clamping member receiving portion configured to at least partially receive the clamping member. Such an arrangement may allow the first component and second component to be brought into close proximity to each other for being joined together, without the clamp obstructing the second component. The clamping member receiving portion may act to restrict the movement of the clamping member in directions other than the first direction.

    [0008] The clamping member may be riveted or bolted to the anchor nut, or any other suitable method of joining as would be understood by the skilled person. The clamping member and anchor nut may be slidable relative to the first component, such that the clamping member may be slid into a first position proximate to the first component, for example, fully received within the clamp receiving portion, and a second position, away from the first position, such that the clamping member at least partially extends from the clamp receiving portion.

    [0009] The clamping member may be arranged such that the clamping member is movable only in one direction with respect to the first component, and movement in other directions, in particular in different planes, is restricted.

    [0010] The anchor nut may comprise a threaded aperture.

    [0011] The fastener may be a threaded bolt. The fastener may be configured to extend through the first component, through the sliding clamp, and into engagement with the anchor nut. The second component may comprise a countersunk aperture for receiving a countersunk bolt end of the fastener. Therefore, the fastener may form a flush surface with the second component.

    [0012] The fastener may pull the clamp into engagement with the second component such that the anchor nut does not contact, or exert any force on, the first component, in the direction in which the fastener extends. However, the fastening device may be configured such that it prevents movement of the first component and second component in a direction perpendicular to the direction in which the fastener extends. Such an arrangement may resist shear loads applied to the fastening device, keeping the first component and second component in a fixed position relative to each other.

    [0013] The first component may be a metal component. Alternatively, the first component may be a composite component. The second component may be a composite component. The second component may be any component which includes a surface intended to be brought into contact with a first component, where that surface includes a manufacturing tolerance meaning that the surface may be prevented from sitting flush to the first component.

    [0014] The aircraft structure may comprise a plurality of fastening devices, the fastening devices each comprising a fastening clamp movable in a different direction to the other fastening clamps and fixed in a different direction to the other fastening clamps. Such an arrangement may provide an aircraft structure that is securely fastened together, with the fastening devices preventing movement of the two components relative to each other in a number of different directions.

    [0015] According to a second aspect of the invention there is also provided an aircraft, the aircraft comprising an aircraft structure as described in relation to the first aspect of the invention.

    [0016] According to a third aspect which is not within the scope of the appended claims, there is provided a fastening device, the fastening device comprising a clamping member, an anchor nut, and a fastener, wherein the clamping member is fixedly attached to the anchor nut, and the fastener is removably engaged with the clamping member.

    [0017] According to a fourth aspect which is not within the scope of the appended claims, there is provided a method of joining a first component and second component, the method comprising the steps of locating a clamping member between the first component and second component, attaching an anchor nut to the clamping member, such that the clamping member is movable relative to the first component in a first direction and fixed relative to the first component in a second, different direction, and engaging a fastener with the clamping member through the second component, such that the clamping member moves into contact with the second component.

    DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0018] Embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying schematic drawings of which:

    Figure 1 shows an exploded view of an aircraft structure comprising a fastening device according to a first embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the fastener of the aircraft structure according to the first embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 3 shows an exploded view of various elements of the fastening device of the aircraft structure according to the first embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 4 shows a cross-sectional view of the fastener in one structural member;

    Figure 5 shows a cross-sectional view of the fastener in a second structural member, the second structural member having larger manufacturing tolerances than the structural member shown in figure 4;

    Figure 6 shows an aircraft including an aircraft structure comprising a fastener according to a second embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 7 shows an aircraft component including an aircraft structure comprising a plurality of fasteners according to a third embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 8 shows a cross-sectional view of the aircraft component shown in figure 7, and

    Figure 9 shows the bonding path between various components of the aircraft structure comprising a fastening device according to the first embodiment of the invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0019] Figure 1 shows a fastening device 10 for fastening together a first component 12 and a second component 14. The fastening device 10 comprises a clamping member 16, an anchor nut 18, and a fastener 20. The first component 12 is an approximately planar metal component, with a receiving section 22 arranged to at least partially receive the clamping member 16. The first component 12 includes an engagement surface 24 which is arranged to be brought into proximity and possibly partial contact with a corresponding engagement surface 26 on the second component 14. The second component 14 is an approximately planar composite component, and the engagement surface 26 is the non-datum surface of the component. Therefore, the engagement surface 26 of the second component 14 and the engagement surface 24 of the first component 12, whilst being in close proximity to each other, may not be in flush contact across all of the engagement surfaces 24, 26.

    [0020] In order to secure the first component 12 to the second component 14 without squeezing the first component 12 and second component 14 together, and potentially damaging the first and/or second component 12, 14, a threaded portion of the fastener 20 extends through an aperture in the second component 14, a corresponding aperture in the clamping member 16, and into engagement with a correspondingly threaded portion of the anchor nut 18. The fastener 20 has a longitudinal axis, this being the direction in which the fastener extends through the second component 14, the clamping member 16 and the anchor nut 18. The anchor nut 18 is connected, via rivets, to two connecting portions 28 and 30 of the clamping member 16, through corresponding apertures in the first component. The connection between the anchor nut 18 and the clamping member 16 is such that limited movement between the clamping member 16 and the receiving portion 22 in the same direction as the longitudinal axis of the fastener 20 is allowed, but that rotational movement, or movement in the plane of the approximately planar first component 12 is prevented. Engaging the fastener 20 with the anchor nut 18 pulls the clamping member 16 into contact with the second component 14. Provided that the manufacturing tolerance in the two components is not too great, the clamping member 16 is brought into contact with the second component 14 without the anchor bolt pressing on the first component 12. Therefore, the second component 14 is secured against rotational movement relative to the first component, and in plane movement relative to the first component, without there being a clamping force between the first component 12 and second component 14.

    [0021] Figure 2 shows a cross-sectional view of the fastening device 10 described with reference to figure 1. The clamping member 16 is located within the receiving section 22 of the first component 12. The anchor nut 18 is located to the other side of the first component 12, and is riveted to the clamping member 16 by the connecting portions 28 and 30. The second component 14 with the fastener 20 extending through a countersunk aperture 32, is brought into proximity to the second component 14. The first component 12 and second component 14 are then joined together, with the fastener 20 extending through the clamping member 16 and into engagement with the anchor nut 18. The clamping member 16 is then pulled against the second component 14 by the fastener 20, which is shown in figure 2.

    [0022] Figure 3 shows an exploded view of the clamping member 16, the first component 12, with the receiving section 22, and the anchor nut 18.

    [0023] Figure 4 shows a first component 12 and second component 14 with a small manufacturing tolerance (MIN) between the two components. Figure 5 shows a first component 12 and second component 14 with a larger manufacturing tolerance (MAX) between the two components. The figures show how the movement of the clamping member relative to the first component allows for the variation in manufacturing tolerances to be compensated for.

    [0024] Figure 6 shows an aircraft 50, the aircraft 50 including an aircraft structure 40 comprising a fastening device 10 as described above.

    [0025] Figure 7 shows the aircraft structure 40, which comprises a composite fairing 44 of a corona jettison fuel outlet. A fastening device 10 secures the composite fairing structure to a metallic component 42 of the fuel outlet. Figure 8 shows a cross-sectional view of the aircraft structure as shown in figure 7, with a plurality of fasteners 10. A plurality of fastening devices 10 are located at various points on the aircraft structure 40, to secure the metallic component 42 and composite component 44 together. There may, for example, be 2mm gap between the mating surfaces of the two components 42, 44, due to manufacturing tolerances, and the fastening devices 10 according to the invention allow the two components to be fastened together without the two components being urged together, which may load one or both of the two components in an undesired manner. In order that the metallic component 42 and composite component are secured in all degrees of freedom, the plurality of fastening devices 10 must be located in several different orientations across the two components, as shown.

    [0026] Figure 9 shows a fastening device 10 as located in the in aircraft structure 40. In order to comply with the electrical bonding requirements for metallic structures on aircraft, the fastening device 10 must be electrically bonded with the rest of the metallic aircraft structure. The sections B highlighted in figure 9 show how the bonding requirements from the fastener 20, through the clamping member 16, and anchor nut 18 are met. The bonding requirements may be met by metallic surfaces being applied to the section B as shown in figure 9.

    [0027] Whilst the present invention has been described and illustrated with reference to particular embodiments, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention lends itself to many different variations not specifically illustrated herein. The extent of the protection is determined by the appended claims.

    [0028] It will also be appreciated by the reader that integers or features of the invention that are described as preferable, advantageous, convenient or the like are optional and do not limit the scope of the independent claims. Moreover, it is to be understood that such optional integers or features, whilst of possible benefit in some embodiments of the invention, may not be desirable, and may therefore be absent, in other embodiments.


    Claims

    1. An aircraft structure, the aircraft structure comprising a first component (12) and a second component (14), and a fastening device (10) fastening the first component (12) to the second component (14), wherein the fastening device (10) comprises a clamping member (16), and a fastening member (20), the fastening member with a longitudinal axis, the clamping member (16) located between the first component (12) and second component such that the clamping member (16) is movable in a first direction and is fixed in position in a second direction, the first direction being parallel to the longitudinal axis of the fastening member (20), wherein the fastening member (20) extends through the second component (14) into engagement with the clamping member (16) and holds the clamping member (16) against the second component (14), wherein the aircraft structure further comprises an anchor nut (18), the clamping member (16) being connected to the anchor nut (18), characterised in that the clamping member (16) is located on a first side of the first component (12) and the anchor nut (18) is located on a second, opposite, side of the first component (12) wherein the clamping member (16) is connected to the anchor nut (18) by at least two connection points (28, 30), such connection points (22) spaced with respect to each other, wherein the connection points (28, 30) are associated with distinct apertures through the first component (12), the apertures located such that rotational movement, or movement of the clamping member (16) in the plane of the first component (12), is prevented.
     
    2. An aircraft structure as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first component (12) comprises a clamping member receiving portion (22), the clamping member receiving portion (22) configured to at least partially receive the clamping member (16).
     
    3. An aircraft structure as claimed in claim 2, wherein the clamping member receiving portion (22) acts to restrict the movement of the clamping member (16) in directions other than the first direction.
     
    4. An aircraft structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the clamping member (16) and anchor nut (18) is slidable relative to the first component (12), such that the clamping member (16) may be slid into a first position proximate to the first component (12), and a second position, away from the first position, such that the clamping member (16) at least partially extends from the clamp receiving portion (22).
     
    5. An aircraft structure as claimed in any preceding claim, the clamping member (16) arranged such that the clamping member (16) is movable only in one direction with respect to the first component (12), and movement in other directions, is restricted.
     
    6. An aircraft structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the first component (12) is a metal component.
     
    7. An aircraft structure as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the second component (14) is a composite component.
     
    8. An aircraft structure as claimed in any preceding claim, comprising a plurality of fastening devices (10), the fastening devices (10) each comprising a clamping member movable in a different direction to the other clamping members and fixed in a different direction to the other clamping members.
     
    9. An aircraft, the aircraft comprising an aircraft structure as claimed in any of claims 1 to 8.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Flugzeugstruktur, die Flugzeugstruktur umfassend eine erste Komponente (12) und eine zweite Komponente (14), und eine Befestigungsvorrichtung (10), die die erste Komponente (12) an der zweiten Komponente (14) befestigt, wobei die Befestigungsvorrichtung (10) ein Klemmelement (16) und ein Befestigungselement (20) umfasst, wobei das Befestigungselement eine Längsachse aufweist, wobei das Klemmelement (16) zwischen der ersten Komponente (12) und der zweiten Komponente derart angeordnet ist, dass das Klemmelement (16) in einer ersten Richtung beweglich ist und in einer zweiten Richtung in Position fixiert ist, wobei die erste Richtung parallel zu der Längsachse des Befestigungselements (20) verläuft, wobei sich das Befestigungselement (20) durch die zweite Komponente (14) in Eingriff mit dem Klemmelement (16) erstreckt und das Klemmelement (16) gegen die zweite Komponente (14) hält, wobei die Flugzeugstruktur ferner eine Ankermutter (18) umfasst, wobei das Klemmelement (16) mit der Ankermutter (18) verbunden ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Klemmelement (16) auf einer ersten Seite der ersten Komponente (12) und die Ankermutter (18) auf einer zweiten, gegenüberliegenden Seite der ersten Komponente (12) angeordnet ist, wobei das Klemmelement (16) über mindestens zwei Verbindungspunkte (28, 30) mit der Ankermutter (18) verbunden ist, wobei solche Verbindungspunkte (22) voneinander beabstandet sind, wobei die Verbindungspunkte (28, 30) durch die erste Komponente (12) mit unterschiedlichen Öffnungen verbunden sind, wobei die Öffnungen derart angeordnet sind, dass eine Drehbewegung oder Bewegung des Klemmelements (16) in der Ebene der ersten Komponente (12) verhindert wird.
     
    2. Flugzeugstruktur nach Anspruch 1, wobei die erste Komponente (12) einen Klemmelementaufnahmeabschnitt (22) umfasst, wobei der Klemmelementaufnahmeabschnitt (22) dazu ausgebildet ist, das Klemmelement (16) zumindest teilweise aufzunehmen.
     
    3. Flugzeugstruktur nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Klemmelementaufnahmeabschnitt (22) die Bewegung des Klemmelements (16) in andere Richtungen als die erste Richtung einschränkt.
     
    4. Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der vorangegangenen Ansprüche, wobei das Klemmelement (16) und die Ankermutter (18) in Bezug auf die erste Komponente (12) derart verschiebbar sind, dass das Klemmelement (16) in eine erste Position in der Nähe der ersten Komponente (12) und eine zweite Position, entfernt von der ersten Position, verschiebbar ist, sodass das Klemmelement (16) zumindest teilweise von dem Klemmaufnahmeabschnitt (22) absteht.
     
    5. Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der vorangegangenen Ansprüche, wobei das Klemmelement (16) derart angeordnet ist, dass das Klemmelement (16) in Bezug auf die erste Komponente (12) nur in eine Richtung beweglich ist und die Bewegung in andere Richtungen eingeschränkt ist.
     
    6. Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der vorangegangenen Ansprüche, wobei die erste Komponente (12) eine Metallkomponente ist.
     
    7. Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der vorangegangenen Ansprüche, wobei die zweite Komponente (14) eine Verbundkomponente ist.
     
    8. Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der vorangegangenen Ansprüche, umfassend eine Vielzahl von Befestigungsvorrichtungen (10), wobei die Befestigungsvorrichtungen (10) jeweils ein Klemmelement umfassen, das in einer anderen Richtung als die anderen Klemmelemente beweglich ist und in einer anderen Richtung als die anderen Klemmelemente befestigt ist.
     
    9. Flugzeug, das Flugzeug umfassend eine Flugzeugstruktur nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8.
     


    Revendications

    1. Structure d'aéronef, la structure d'aéronef comprenant un premier composant (12) et un second composant (14), et un dispositif de fixation (10) fixant le premier composant (12) sur le second composant (14), dans laquelle le dispositif de fixation (10) comprend un élément de serrage (16), et un élément de fixation (20), l'élément de fixation ayant un axe longitudinal, l'élément de serrage (16) étant positionné entre le premier composant (12) et le second composant de sorte que l'élément de serrage (16) est mobile dans une première direction et est fixé en position dans une seconde direction, la première direction étant parallèle à l'axe longitudinal de l'élément de fixation (20), dans laquelle l'élément de fixation (20) s'étend à travers le second composant (14) en mise en prise avec l'élément de serrage (16) et maintient l'élément de serrage (16) contre le second composant (14), dans laquelle la structure d'aéronef comprend en outre un écrou d'ancrage (18), l'élément de serrage (16) étant raccordé à l'écrou d'ancrage (18), caractérisé en ce que l'élément de serrage (16) est positionné sur un premier côté du premier composant (12) et l'écrou d'ancrage (18) est positionné sur un second côté opposé du premier composant (12), dans laquelle l'élément de serrage (16) est raccordé à l'écrou d'ancrage (18) par au moins deux points de raccordement (28, 30), de tels points de raccordement (22) étant espacés l'un par rapport à l'autre, dans laquelle les points de raccordement (28, 30) sont associés avec des ouvertures distinctes par le biais du premier composant (12), les ouvertures étant positionnées de sorte que le mouvement de rotation ou le mouvement de l'élément de serrage (16) dans le plan du premier composant (12), est empêché.
     
    2. Structure d'aéronef selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle le premier composant (12) comprend une partie de réception d'élément de serrage (22), la partie de réception d'élément de serrage (22) étant configurée pour recevoir au moins partiellement l'élément de serrage (16).
     
    3. Structure d'aéronef selon la revendication 2, dans laquelle la partie de réception d'élément de serrage (22) sert à limiter le mouvement de l'élément de serrage (16) dans des directions différentes de la première direction.
     
    4. Structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle l'élément de serrage (16) et l'écrou d'ancrage (18) peuvent coulisser par rapport au premier composant (12) de sorte que l'élément de serrage (16) peut coulisser dans une première position à proximité du premier composant (12), et une seconde position à distance de la première position, de sorte que l'élément de serrage (16) s'étend au moins partiellement à partir de la partie de réception de dispositif de serrage (22).
     
    5. Structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, l'élément de serrage (16) étant agencé de sorte que l'élément de serrage (16) est mobile uniquement dans une direction par rapport au premier composant (12), et le mouvement dans les autres directions est limité.
     
    6. Structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle le premier composant (12) est un composant métallique.
     
    7. Structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle le second composant (14) est un composant composite.
     
    8. Structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant une pluralité de dispositifs de fixation (10), les dispositifs de fixation (10) comprenant chacun un élément de serrage mobile dans une direction différente des autres éléments de serrage et fixe dans une direction différente des autres éléments de serrage.
     
    9. Aéronef, l'aéronef comprenant une structure d'aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description