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A group from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya is studying a way to make aircraft cleaner

The European MOET project will improve the internal architecture of aircraft to make them lighter, more fuel-efficient, safer and less polluting. The project has a budget of €35 million and involves the MCIA Center of the Department of Electronic Engineering on the Terrassa Campus.

This UPC center and the Public University of Navarre are the only 2 Spanish teams on the project, together with 13 other European scientific teams and 46 high-tech companies, including SAAB, Siemens, Roll Royce, CRISA and Goodrich.

Electromechanical system
The precise functioning of each of the actions carried out by an aircraft depends on the interrelation between highly complex systems (hydraulic, mechanical, electronic and electrical systems). This complexity greatly increases the cost of building aircraft and affects the weight of the craft and the amount of fuel they consume.

In the design of the new aircraft model being prepared by Airbus in the MOET project, the MCIA Center (led by Juan Antonio Ortega and José Luís Romeral) is responsible for diagnosing the functioning of the motor that moves the ailerons. The novelty is that this motor, which normally works using a hydraulic system, is based on an electromechanical system. This system allows the ailerons to move with high precision to alter the trajectory of the aircraft through the air, under the pilot's control. Thus, diagnosing its functioning must be thoroughly accurate.

The new electromechanical motor model will make it possible to eliminate a large part of the intermediate systems that are used to coordinate all the internal elements; thus, "the aircraft will become lighter and safer as it will consume less energy", said Romeral. This is called power by wire.

The first two large-scale prototypes of the project will be presented in Toulouse (France) in 2010 and will open the way for a new design of aircraft that is safer and more sustainable.

Rossy Laciana | alfa
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