Abstract

Inlet Particle Separators (IPS) are filters installed in helicopter and turboprop engines to prevent the ingestion of dust, sand and other debris when operating in extreme conditions. However, the performance and limitations of those systems have to be investigated before their installation in the aircraft. For this reason, the IPS testing is a primary concern for engine manufacturers: unfortunately, the organization of conventional experimental campaigns might be too lengthy and in conflict with the stringent industrial timescales. Hence, the IPS can be fabricated by means of polymer additive manufacturing to shorten the testing cycle time and reduce costs, but this poses a threat in terms of mechanical rig integrity. This paper proposes a complete approach for the structural characterization of an IPS made of FullCure720 and HP PA 11, analyzed using the same tools and procedures of classical metal structures. This method employs fluid structure interaction to ensure safe operability during testing, and can be applied in early design phases to plan low-risk experimental campaigns. Starting from the structural collapse of the rig at high Reynolds number, its safety under both steady and unsteady loading conditions is assessed. The maximum inlet total pressure allowed in the system is determined and some structural reinforcements are analyzed to prevent failure in future tests. The results confirm the existence of weak regions even with stiffer components, and the impossibility of operating the facility at high Reynolds number with the current design.

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