(19)
(11)EP 3 156 324 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
27.11.2019 Bulletin 2019/48

(21)Application number: 16193727.1

(22)Date of filing:  13.10.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B64C 25/12(2006.01)
F16J 1/00(2006.01)
F15B 15/14(2006.01)
F16C 7/02(2006.01)
B64C 25/18(2006.01)
F16J 1/12(2006.01)
F16C 3/02(2006.01)

(54)

HYBRID METALLIC/COMPOSITE PISTON HEAD JOINT

HYBRIDMETALL-/VERBUNDKOLBENBODENGELENK

JOINT DE TÊTE DE PISTON HYBRIDE EN COMPOSITE ET MÉTAL


(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: 13.10.2015 US 201514882200

(43)Date of publication of application:
19.04.2017 Bulletin 2017/16

(73)Proprietor: Goodrich Corporation
Charlotte, NC 28217-4578 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • GANIS, Rony
    Oakville, Ontario L6L-6X3 (CA)
  • BERNARD, James
    London, W14 0BP (GB)
  • GIANNAKOPOULOS, Ioannis
    London, SE23 1DS (GB)
  • CHATZI, Panagiota
    Oxford, OX2 0ED (GB)
  • HIGGINBOTTOM, Thomas
    Hampshire, PO8 0UJ (GB)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A1- 3 507 520
FR-A- 1 491 084
US-A- 4 875 717
DE-A1-102014 204 617
GB-A- 2 454 958
US-A1- 2015 284 957
  
      
    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

    FIELD



    [0001] The present disclosure relates generally to actuators and more specifically to actuators having composite actuator piston tubes.

    BACKGROUND



    [0002] Conventionally, various types of aircraft utilize actuators including, for example, to deploy nose, body, and/or wheel landing gear systems. Conventional actuator components are made of metallic materials and often comprise complex geometries and high strengths. However, these metallic components are typically heavy. GB 2454958 A describes a load transmitting connector for a composite tubular shaft. US 4875717 A describes end connectors for filament wound tubes.

    SUMMARY



    [0003] The invention provides an actuator according to claims 1-6, a landing gear system comprising an actuator according to claims 1-6 and a method for forming an actuator according to claims 8-12.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0004] The subject matter of the present disclosure is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. A more complete understanding of the present disclosure, however, may best be obtained by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the drawing figures, wherein like numerals denote like elements.

    Figures 1A and 1B illustrate side views of a landing gear system in accordance with various embodiments;

    Figure 2 illustrates a schematic view of an actuator in accordance with various embodiments;

    Figures 3A, 3B, and 3C illustrate, respectively, a perspective view, a cross-sectional view, and an exploded view of an actuator in accordance with various embodiments;

    Figure 4 illustrates the load paths through an actuator in accordance with various embodiments; and

    Figure 5 provides a method for forming an actuator in accordance with various embodiments.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0005] The detailed description of exemplary embodiments herein makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which show exemplary embodiments by way of illustration. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the inventions, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized and that logical changes and adaptations in design and construction may be made in accordance with this invention and the teachings herein. Thus, the detailed description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not for limitation. The scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims. In some cases, reference coordinates may be specific to each figure.

    [0006] The present disclosure describes actuators having a composite actuator rod. Such actuators may be used in aircraft systems, such as, for example, landing gear systems. However, the systems and methods of the present disclosure may be suitable for use in non-aircraft systems as well.

    [0007] With initial reference to Figures 1A and 1B, a retraction sequence of a landing gear system 10 is illustrated. In various embodiments, landing gear 10 includes a strut 14 supporting wheels 16. Strut 14 is rotatable about a pivot, such as airframe 12, in response to an extend/retract actuator 18 applying a force to an arm 19. A linkage 20 may connect a lower portion of strut 14 to airframe 12, for example. A lock-stay 22 may be interconnected between linkage 20 and strut 14 to lock landing gear 10 in a deployed position until landing gear retraction is commanded.

    [0008] In Figure 1A, landing gear 10 is shown in the deployed position. The example lock-stay 22 includes first link 21 and second link 23 pivotally secured to one another at a joint D. One end of first link 21 is connected to strut 14 at pivot B. A portion of second link 23 is connected to linkage 20 at pivot C. A biasing member 26 is arranged between lock-stay 22 and linkage 20 to bias lock-stay 22 to the locked position. An unlock actuator 24 is interconnected between linkage 20 and lock-stay 22 to pull joint D from over-center, as depicted by the arrow in Figure 1B, so that extend/retract actuator 18 can move landing gear 10 to a stowed position.

    [0009] With initial reference to Figure 2, a schematic diagram of actuator 230 is illustrated. Actuator 230 may comprise an actuator body 231 into which a actuator rod tube 233 (also referred to as an actuator piston) retracts and extends. Actuator 230 may comprise, for example an extend/retract actuator 18 or an unlock actuator 24 (as illustrated in Figures 1A and 1B), or any other type of actuator suitable for use in body-type landing gear systems. Further, actuator 230 may comprise an actuator suitable for use in other systems, including flight control systems, wing and nose landing gear systems, and any other system which utilizes one or more actuators, including non-aircraft systems.

    [0010] With respect to FIG. 3A through FIG. 4, elements with like element numbering as depicted in FIG. 2 are intended to be the same and will not necessarily be repeated for the sake of clarity

    [0011] In various embodiments, with reference to Figures 3A-3C, actuator 230 comprises a composite actuator rod tube 334. Composite actuator rod tube 334 may comprise, for example, a lightweight polymer matrix composite such as a carbon fiber composite material or a hydrocarbon fiber composite material. Although composite materials provide reduced weight over traditional metal components, it may be difficult to couple composite materials to metal components. Conventional methods of attaching composite materials to other materials, such as threading or drilling holes in the composite material, may significantly reduce the strength of the composite material. Other conventional methods require bonding or gluing to provide a load path between two or more components. Therefore, methods and apparatus for connecting composite material components (such as composite actuator rod tube 334) to other components (such as metallic components) may be desirable.

    [0012] Composite actuator rod tube 334 may comprise a flared end 336. In various embodiments, flared end 336 is formed of a lightweight polymer matrix composite material. For example, flared end 336 may comprise the same material as composite actuator rod tube 334. Flared end 336 may be configured to provide a flared surface to engage with a metal component of actuator 230. As will be discussed in greater detail, a metal component may be secured against and held within flared end 336, eliminating the need for threading or drilling of flared end 336 and/or composite actuator rod tube 334, which would reduce the strength of and/or compromise the structural integrity of composite actuator rod tube 334.

    [0013] Composite actuator rod tube 334 and flared end 336 may be formed by laying composite sheets or layers in a desired shape and bonding the layers together using resins, adhesives, or other bonding agents. In various embodiments, composite actuator rod tube 334 and flared end 336 may be formed using a fiber-wound form, wherein fiber is continuously wound onto the form and bonded together using resins, adhesives, or other bonding agents. Any manner of forming composite actuator rod tube 334 and flared end 336 is within the scope of the present disclosure.

    [0014] During or after formation, flared end 336 may be pretensioned. For example, flared end 336 may be pretensioned for tensile and/or compressive loads. Such pretensioning may reduce fretting and/or extend the fatigue life of flared end 336.

    [0015] In various embodiments, an insert 338 is positioned within flared end 336. Flared end 336 may comprise a conical geometry. Insert 338 may comprise a conical geometry. The geometry of insert 338 may be complementary to the geometry of flared end 336. As will be discussed in greater detail, insert 338 may be positioned within flared end 336 and held under compression by components located outside of composite actuator rod tube 334. In various embodiments, insert 338 may be placed within flared end 336 during formation of composite actuator rod tube 334 and flared end 336. In various embodiments, insert 338 may be placed within flared end 336 after formation of composite actuator rod tube 334 and flared end 336. Insert 338 may comprise, for example, a metallic material. However, insert 338 may comprise any suitable material.

    [0016] Insert 338 may comprise, for example, a concical portion 340 and a cylindrical portion 342. In various embodiments, conical portion 340 may engage with flared end 336. In various embodiments, cylindrical portion 342 may engage with the inner diameter (ID) surface 335 of composite actuator rod tube 334. Insert 338 may be configured to be pushed into (in the x-direction) composite actuator rod tube 334 by components located outside of composite actuator rod tube 334.

    [0017] In various embodiments, a piston head 344 concentrically surrounds and is secured to flared end 336. For example, piston head 344 is positioned concentrically around flared end 336 and secured by a piston head nut 358. Piston head 344 and/or piston head nut 358 may comprise a metallic material. However, piston head 344 and/or piston head nut 358 may comprise any suitable material.

    [0018] Piston head 344 may comprise an inner surface 360 comprising a profile that is complementary to flared end 336 and/or composite actuator rod tube 334. The inner surface 360 may have one or more seal grooves 354. The piston head 344 may comprise an outer surface 352 having one or more seal grooves 354. Insert 338 may comprise an outer surface 339 having one or more seal grooves 354. A seal may be located within each of the one or more seal grooves 354. Thus, insert 338 may be sealed to actuator rod tube 334 via one or more seal grooves 354. In various embodiments, piston head 344 may be sealed to actuator rod tube 334 via one or more seal grooves 354.

    [0019] In various embodiments, a locking mechanism is used to assist in securing piston head nut 358 to piston head 344. For example, aperture 374 may be located in bearing groove 356. A slot 372 may be located in piston head 344. Piston head nut 358 may rotate to align aperture 374 with slot 372. Aperture 374 and slot 372 may extend in the radial direction. A locking pin 376 may be located in aperture 374 and in slot 372. Accordingly, locking pin 376 is coupled between piston head nut 358 and piston head 344. Locking pin 376 prevents piston head nut 358 from rotating with respect to piston head 344. Other locking mechanisms may also be used to secure piston head nut 358.

    [0020] Piston head nut 358 may comprise an outer surface 362 having one or more bearing grooves 356. Bearing 364 may be located in bearing groove 356. Locking pin 376 is secured by bearing 364. Stated another way, bearing 364 prevents locking pin 376 from exiting aperture 374 and slot 372 in the radially outward direction. Bearing 364 is located radially outward from locking pin 376.

    [0021] In various embodiments, with reference to FIG. 4, piston head nut 344 is illustrated in the tightened position. In various embodiments, flared end 336 may be compressed between piston head 344 and insert 338. For example, piston head nut 358 is threadingly attached to piston head 344, which may pull piston head 344 towards piston head nut 358, as illustrated by arrows 404, and also pull piston head nut 358 toward piston head 344, as illustrated by arrows 402, which may consequently push insert 338 into composite actuator rod tube 334 as illustrated by arrow 410. In various embodiments, tightening may compress flared end 336 between piston head 344 and insert 338, as illustrated by arrows 406 and arrows 408, respectively.

    [0022] In various embodiments, piston head nut 358 and piston head 344 may be configured to be separated by a gap 422 when piston head nut 358 is in a tightened position. In various embodiments, separating piston head nut 358 and piston head 344 by gap 422 may prevent piston head nut 358 from locking against piston head 344 before flared end 336 is compressed between piston head 344 and insert 338.

    [0023] With reference to FIG. 5, a method for forming an actuator is provided in accordance with various embodiments. The method includes forming a rod tube having a flared end contrically surrounding an insert in step 501. Step 502 may include sealing the rod tube to the insert. Step 503 includes concentrically surrounding the flared end with a piston head. Step 504 may include compressing the flared end between the insert and the piston head. Step 505 includes locking a piston head nut to the piston head.

    [0024] In various embodiments, with further reference to FIG. 3B, step 501 includes forming composite actuator rod tube 334 having a flared end 336 concentrically surrounding an insert 338 having a complementary shape to the flared end. Step 502 may include sealing composite actuator rod tube 334 to insert 338. Composite actuator rod tube 334 may be sealed to insert 338 via one or more seal grooves 354. Step 503 includes concentrically surrounding the flared end 336 with piston head 344. Piston head 344 is secured to flared end 336 with piston head nut 358. Step 504 may include compressing flared end 336 between insert 338 and the piston head 344. Flared end 336 may be compressed between insert 338 and piston head 344 in response to tightening piston head nut 358 onto piston head 344. Step 505 includes locking piston head nut 358 to piston head 344. In various embodiments, a locking pin 376 is inserted at least partially into aperture 374 and at least partially into slot 372 to prevent the rotation of piston head nut 358 relative to piston head 344.

    [0025] Benefits, other advantages, and solutions to problems have been described herein with regard to specific embodiments. Furthermore, the connecting lines shown in the various figures contained herein are intended to represent exemplary functional relationships and/or physical couplings between the various elements. It should be noted that many alternative or additional functional relationships or physical connections may be present in a practical system. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any elements that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of the inventions. The scope of the inventions is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. An actuator (230) comprising:

    a composite actuator rod tube (334) having a flared end (336);

    an insert (338), wherein the insert (338) has a complementary shape to the flared end (336);

    a piston head (344) concentrically surrounding the flared end (336) of the composite actuator rod tube (334); and

    a piston head nut (358) configured to threadingly attach to the piston head (344), and further comprising a locking mechanism for securing the piston head to the piston head nut (358), and wherein the locking mechanism comprises a locking pin coupled between the piston head (344) and the piston head nut to prevent the piston head nut from rotating with respect to the piston head, and characterized in that the locking pin is secured by a bearing, the bearing located radially outward from the locking pin.
     
    2. The actuator of claim 1, wherein the insert (338) is configured to be positioned at least partially within the flared end (336).
     
    3. The actuator of claim 1 or 2, wherein the flared end (336) is compressed between the piston head (344) and the insert.
     
    4. The actuator of any preceding claim, wherein the piston head (344) comprises a sealing groove (354).
     
    5. The actuator of any preceding claim, wherein an outer surface of the insert (338) includes a sealing groove.
     
    6. The actuator of any preceding claim, wherein an outer surface of the piston head nut (358) includes a bearing groove.
     
    7. A landing gear system comprising:
    the actuator (230) of any preceding claim.
     
    8. A method for forming an actuator comprising:

    forming a composite actuator rod tube (334) having a flared end (336) concentrically surrounding an insert (338) having a complementary shape to the flared end (336), and

    concentrically surrounding the flared end with a piston head and threadingly attaching a piston head nut (358) to the piston head; securing the piston head to the piston head nut (358) with a locking mechanism; and inserting a lock pin of the locking mechanism to extend between the piston head and the piston head nut, thereby preventing rotation of the piston head nut relative to the piston head, and characterized by securing said locking pin with a bearing, the bearing located radially outward from the locking pin.


     
    9. The method of claim 7, further comprising sealing the actuator rod tube (334) to the insert (338).
     
    10. The method of claim 7 or 8, further comprising sealing the piston head (344) to the actuator rod tube (334).
     
    11. The method of claim 10, further comprising compressing the flared end (336) between the insert (338) and the piston head (344).
     
    12. The method of claim 11, further comprising locking a piston head nut (358) to the piston head (344).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Stellglied (230), umfassend:

    ein Verbundstellgliedstangenrohr (334), das ein aufgeweitetes Ende (336) aufweist;

    einen Einsatz (338), wobei der Einsatz (338) eine komplementäre Form zu dem aufgeweiteten Ende (336) aufweist;

    einen Kolbenkopf (344), der das aufgeweitete Ende (336) des Verbundstellgliedstangenrohres (334) konzentrisch umgibt; und

    eine Kolbenkopfmutter (358), die konfiguriert ist, um gewindemäßig an dem Kolbenkopf (344) angebracht zu werden, und

    ferner umfassend einen Verriegelungsmechanismus zum Befestigen des Kolbenkopfes an der Kolbenkopfmutter (358),

    und wobei der Verriegelungsmechanismus einen Verriegelungsstift umfasst, der zwischen dem Kolbenkopf (344) und der Kolbenkopfmutter gekoppelt ist, um zu verhindern, dass sich die Kolbenkopfmutter in Bezug auf den Kolbenkopf dreht, und dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Verriegelungsstift durch ein Lager befestigt ist, wobei sich das Lager radial auswärts des Verriegelungsstiftes befindet.


     
    2. Stellglied nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Einsatz (338) konfiguriert ist, um zumindest teilweise innerhalb des aufgeweiteten Endes (336) positioniert zu werden.
     
    3. Stellglied nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei das aufgeweitete Ende (336) zwischen dem Kolbenkopf (344) und dem Einsatz komprimiert ist.
     
    4. Stellglied nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei der Kolbenkopf (344) eine Dichtungsnut (354) umfasst.
     
    5. Stellglied nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei eine Außenfläche des Einsatzes (338) eine Dichtungsnut beinhaltet.
     
    6. Stellglied nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch, wobei eine Außenfläche der Kolbenkopfmutter (358) eine Lagernut beinhaltet.
     
    7. Fahrwerksystem, umfassend:
    das Stellglied (230) nach einem vorhergehenden Anspruch.
     
    8. Verfahren zum Bilden eines Stellglieds, umfassend:

    Bilden eines Verbundstellgliedstangenrohres (334), das ein aufgeweitetes Ende (336) aufweist, das einen Einsatz (338), der eine komplementäre Form zu dem aufgeweiteten Ende (336) aufweist, konzentrisch umgibt, und

    konzentrisches Umgeben des aufgeweiteten Endes mit einem Kolbenkopf und gewindemäßiges Anbringen einer Kolbenkopfmutter (358) an dem Kolbenkopf;

    Befestigen des Kolbenkopfes an der Kolbenkopfmutter (358) mit einem Verriegelungsmechanismus; und

    Einfügen eines Verriegelungsstiftes des Verriegelungsmechanismus, sodass er sich zwischen dem Kolbenkopf und der Kolbenkopfmutter erstreckt, wodurch Drehung der Kolbenkopfmutter relativ zu dem Kolbenkopf verhindert wird, und gekennzeichnet durch das Befestigen des Verriegelungsstiftes mit einem Lager, wobei sich das Lager radial auswärts des Verriegelungsstiftes befindet.


     
    9. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7, ferner umfassend das Abdichten des Stellgliedstangenrohres (334) gegenüber dem Einsatz (338).
     
    10. Verfahren nach Anspruch 7 oder 8, ferner umfassend das Abdichten des Kolbenkopfes (344) gegenüber dem Stellgliedstangenrohr (334).
     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, ferner umfassend das Komprimieren des aufgeweiteten Endes (336) zwischen dem Einsatz (338) und dem Kolbenkopf (344).
     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, ferner umfassend das Verriegeln einer Kolbenkopfmutter (358) an dem Kolbenkopf (344).
     


    Revendications

    1. Actionneur (230) comprenant :

    un tube de tige d'actionneur composite (334) comportant une extrémité évasée (336) ;

    une insertion (338), dans lequel l'insertion (338) présente une forme complémentaire à l'extrémité évasée (336) ;

    une tête de piston (344) entourant de manière concentrique l'extrémité évasée (336) du tube de tige d'actionneur composite (334) ; et

    un écrou de tête de piston (358) configuré pour être fixé par filetage à la tête de piston (344), et comprenant en outre un mécanisme de verrouillage pour fixer la tête de piston à l'écrou de tête de piston (358),

    et dans lequel le mécanisme de verrouillage comprend une goupille de verrouillage couplée entre la tête de piston (344) et l'écrou de tête de piston pour empêcher l'écrou de tête de piston de tourner par rapport à la tête de piston, et caractérisé en ce que la goupille de verrouillage est fixée par un palier, le palier étant situé radialement vers l'extérieur depuis la goupille de verrouillage.


     
    2. Actionneur selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'insertion (338) est configurée pour être positionnée au moins partiellement à l'intérieur de l'extrémité évasée (336).
     
    3. Actionneur selon la revendication 1 ou 2, dans lequel l'extrémité évasée (336) est comprimée entre la tête de piston (344) et l'insertion.
     
    4. Actionneur selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel la tête de piston (344) comprend une rainure d'étanchéité (354).
     
    5. Actionneur selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel une surface extérieure de l'insertion (338) comprend une rainure d'étanchéité.
     
    6. Actionneur selon une quelconque revendication précédente, dans lequel une surface extérieure de l'écrou de tête de piston (358) comprend une rainure de palier.
     
    7. Système de train d'atterrissage comprenant :
    l'actionneur (230) selon une quelconque revendication précédente.
     
    8. Procédé de formation d'un actionneur comprenant :

    la formation d'un tube de tige d'actionneur composite (334) comportant une extrémité évasée (336) entourant de manière concentrique une insertion (338) présentant une forme complémentaire à l'extrémité évasée (336), et

    entourant de manière concentrique l'extrémité évasée avec une tête de piston et fixant par filetage un écrou de tête de piston (358) à la tête de piston ; la fixation de la tête de piston à l'écrou de tête de piston (358) avec un mécanisme de verrouillage ; et l'insertion d'une goupille de verrouillage du mécanisme de verrouillage pour qu'elle s'étende entre la tête de piston et l'écrou de tête de piston, empêchant ainsi la rotation de l'écrou de tête de piston par rapport à la tête de piston, et caractérisé par la fixation de ladite goupille de verrouillage avec un palier, le palier étant situé vers l'extérieur depuis la goupille de verrouillage.


     
    9. Procédé selon la revendication 7, comprenant en outre l'étanchéification du tube de tige d'actionneur (334) avec l'insertion (338).
     
    10. Procédé selon la revendication 7 ou 8, comprenant en outre l'étanchéification de la tête de piston (344) avec le tube de tige d'actionneur (334).
     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 10, comprenant en outre l'extrémité évasée (336) entre l'insertion (338) et la tête de piston (344).
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, comprenant en outre le verrouillage d'un écrou de tête de piston (358) avec la tête de piston (344).
     




    Drawing


























    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