Creating a promising engine PD-35 will be funded for several years in advance, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mikhail Gordin, General Director of the Central Institute of Aviation Motors, told the TASS interview about which engines the future planes will equip with and when domestic airliners take off on electric propulsion. P.I. Baranova (CIAM, part of the Research Center "Institute named after NE Zhukovsky").
- Mikhail Valerievich, what are the main activities of CIAM? What are the key projects and research focused specialists of the institute today?
- CIAM is shaping the look of domestic aircraft engines - we are already working on creating technologies for advanced 2030-s power plants. We conduct a full cycle of research to create engines and industrial gas turbine installations based on them, as well as provide scientific and technical support for products in operation. Our main "product" is a scientific and technical background, that is, the creation of new knowledge and technologies necessary for designers to design modern engines for various complex systems.
For example, additive technologies are being actively discussed as an innovative method of producing parts and components (creating objects according to the 3D model data by layering a material - TASS note). New production technologies do not yet give a complete understanding of what defects are possible in production, how reliable such parts will be, and how fatigue phenomena will develop in them. In addition, you need to figure out how to design parts from new materials, because this is not written in the textbooks.
We are also engaged in fundamental research: knowledge in the fundamental sections of gas or aerodynamics must be purposefully expanded in certain directions in order to accomplish specific practical tasks.
- Do you develop engines for sixth generation airplanes?
- Now it is considered that the fifth generation engines are "in series" and the sixth generation engines are being developed. Development work on the sixth generation will probably begin only in ten years. On the fifth, they are now either completed or have already been completed. For example, PD-14 - the fifth generation civilian engine - is now completing the testing and certification process and after some time will be mass-produced. CIAM is actively involved in its creation: we have developed approaches to its design and have completed part of the design work. Now our main contribution is its engineering and certification tests. They are held on our unique experimental base. All nodes for PD-14 were also tested here, at the CIAM Scientific Testing Center, located in the Moscow region. Tests are carried out in high-speed flight conditions, as close as possible to real conditions, on special high-altitude stands. In general, all the most complex and energy-intensive types of mandatory tests of aircraft engines are performed in Russia only at the CIAM Center. And we are testing not only domestic, but also foreign power plants, such as the French company Safran.
Among the works in this field, carried out by CIAM in the last decade, it may be noted certification test modifications PS-90A and PS-90A1, PS-90A2 and PS-90A3, SaM146, auxiliary power units, as well as confirmation of the foreign power plants Certificates for use on Russian planes and helicopters.
And if we talk about the sixth generation, then only as a set of technologies, which is necessary in order to create such engines - in the West, in Russia.
- Does CIA work today on engines for supersonic flight? What should be a plane capable of carrying out a long (at least one hour) cruising flight at a speed several times higher than the speed of sound?
- We are participating in the international project for the development of the HEXAFLY-INT high-speed civilian aircraft. The leading world and Russian scientific organizations collaborate in this large cooperation project: TsAGI, LII named after M.M. Gromova, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, European Space Agency (ESA), ONERA, German Center aviation and Cosmonautics (DLR), CIRA, University of Sydney. The goal of the project is to create a hydrogen-powered aircraft capable of reaching speeds of about 7000–8000 km / h, which will allow, for example, to overcome the distance from Moscow to Sydney in three hours.
The main result of the work today is the demonstration in high-altitude conditions of a positive aero-propulsion balance (thrust exceeds total aerodynamic resistance) of a bench module with Mach number 7,4.
CIAM is working on the appearance of an engine and a power plant for a promising business passenger plane with supersonic flight speeds at Mach numbers 1,6 – 1,8, with low levels of sound impact, noise during takeoff and landing, and emission of harmful substances. Together with TsAGI, we carry out work on the choice of the appearance, calculations and testing of models of the elements of the power plant on experimental benches, including on our acoustic bench and in wind tunnels. We offer a highly efficient upper air intake, low-noise output devices with engine noise jet noise shielding.
A large complex of works is carried out to determine the perspective schemes and parameters of the engine, including the schemes of a variable-cycle engine.
- Did the CIAM specialists participate in the creation of the engine concept for the advanced high-speed helicopter (PSV)?
- CIAM, together with TsAGI, participates in the research conducted by Russian Helicopters on the development of the concept of promising high-speed helicopters (cruising speed - up to 450 km / h and more - TASS note). The first stage of evaluation of the appearance of possible power plant options (engines and transmission) of such helicopters has been completed.
- Are the work on the creation of a large thrust engine (PD-35) for a promising heavy transport aircraft? When can such an engine be created?
- The new twin-turbojet large thrust PD-35 is designed for installation on promising wide-bodied aircraft, including the Russian-Chinese CR929. It will be much more powerful than the existing D-18T engines for the largest Soviet An-124 / An-225 aircraft. Currently PD-35 is at the stage of research and development (R & D). In the next six years, the necessary scientific and technical background will be created for the start of development work.
- What will this engine be?
- It will actively use composite materials. The efficiency of the engine increases with the degree of bypass, and in this case the fan becomes increasingly large. And the fan weight is up to 15% of the weight of the entire engine. The PD-35 fan blades, for example, have a length of about 1,1 m, the diameter of the fan at the inlet is about 3 m. The use of metals in this case leads to an unacceptable weight increase. It is proposed to manufacture the blades of polymer composite materials with metal plates. And every kilogram of mass saving of the fan leads to a decrease in the mass of the entire engine.
At the same time PD-35 can not be called the engine of the sixth generation. Domestic civilian engines, relatively speaking, are just beginning the fifth generation. It will most likely be "5 +".
Under the PD-35 program, research works are first carried out, 18 technologies are developed, a demonstration engine will be created on their basis, and then OCD will begin with a small “overlap” in time.
The PD-35 demonstrator will contain all the key features with maximum capabilities: fuel efficiency, ease of manufacture, maintenance, etc. Naturally, such a "super engine" will not go into mass production, as it will turn out to be too expensive and unprofitable. When the R & D stage begins, the tasks of developing its specific characteristics will be set, depending on the specific parameters that need to be achieved in order for this engine to be in demand.
Now we are developing technologies and appearance of the demonstrator for PD-35. To date, all the technical tasks for 18 technologies have been agreed, they are formed both by the industry and by us as the leading scientific organization in the field of aircraft engine building. As part of the research planned their detailed design, calculations, modeling, then - the manufacture of the sample.
- In the five to six years allotted for these research works, will we lag behind foreign competitors even more?
- Five years on the NIR is not very much. If there were no certain groundwork, it would definitely not be enough. But there is the experience of PD-14 and our Western colleagues. How much time will test the engine and when it comes out in a series - the question is not for us, but for the industry.
The task of CIAM is also to develop methods and criteria for testing parts of aircraft engines manufactured using new materials and technical solutions, since they will differ from traditional ones. For them, you need to create the entire methodological base. For example, one of the directions of work in the framework of this R & D is to make polymer-composite blades with defects and to see what the presence of these defects will lead to during testing. In doing so, we think through several different methods for the manufacture of blades. According to the test results, a choice will be made in favor of one or another option.
- Why is it needed?
- We have been working with metal for many years and we know what kind of defects there are when casting, machining, stamping. And we know what they lead to in different situations in the air. There is little experience with polymer composite materials, the statistics of the development of defects is not recruited.
- How long does it take to develop a sixth generation engine?
- In principle, the division into generations is conditional. Some technologies are already ready, some are in the process of development. Of course, we would like to invest as much money in science as possible, so rather we will be able to create something new. But the process of knowledge is not only regulated by money - it takes time and effort. There is such a thing as an S-curve, which models the development of various projects: first, there is a rapid development of technology - a sharp upward spurt, then comes a plateau - the saturation region. The area of turbine in this curve is now closer to saturation. To increase the efficiency of engines by a few percent, you need to invest a lot of time and money. Of course, in this area there is still room for improvement, but each additional percentage of efficiency, each new quality is given hard and expensive.
At the very beginning of this curve is the electric movement. We believe that in the next few years there will be a rapid growth of technologies related to the electrification of transport, both in the air and on the ground.
- What is it - an electric motor?
- While this is an electric motor and a propeller. Anyway, we are talking about screw engines. On the way to creating a fully electric engine, all developed countries are now in the process of developing a hybrid engine, which has a turbine and a generator that generates electricity. The second option - the rejection of the turbine and the preservation of electricity in batteries or fuel cells. This is a more distant horizon, because while kerosene is a very effective source of energy in terms of weight. When burning a small amount of kerosene, it gives that amount of energy that no battery can yet provide. But the world is actively developing ever more capacious and lightweight batteries and fuel cells operating, for example, on hydrogen. Work is underway on the weight efficiency of the entire engine.
A separate problem for an electric aircraft is the amount of energy required for aircraft needs and its flow control. There is the issue of managing the heat released, with which you need to do something.
In general, hybrid and electric traction is a very promising direction, one of the defining technologies for the future of aviation. Now there are many small airplanes for one or two people in the world, but they can all fly very shortly. At the stage of the demonstrator of technology and research, the flight hour is excellent, further questions begin. While in the world there is no electric aircraft that could carry passengers or cargo. Pilots enthusiasts fly on them, because the reliability issues of such equipment are not yet fully resolved. There is still a very long way ahead.
- Do you have such demonstration planes in Russia?
- We are working on them. So far, nothing but models, does not fly. A few years ago, a drone flew on a fuel cell. Currently, we have a project to create a demonstrator of a hybrid power plant with an electric motor based on high-temperature superconductivity. There are no similar projects in the world. Our base is a special conductor cooled by liquid nitrogen, which at a temperature of minus 196 ° C has the effect of zero resistance. As a result, a high efficiency is achieved and the engine mass and dimensions are significantly reduced. Two such 500 kW engines each will be able to equip a regional aircraft for 19 seats. We can reach the level of a demonstrator with a pilot in 2019 year. A manned aircraft for two places we can do right now. It would be more funds, probably, would take off next year.
- Let's talk about engines for small aircraft. For TVS-2-DT, created by SibNIA to replace An-2, it is planned to install TPE331 from Honeywell. Why we do not have new developments in this segment?
- The problem is not in the absence of new developments, they can be. These planes and their engines belong to previous generations. We need large investments in the design, testing and creation of production facilities, the profitability of which is very low. And Western countries, unlike us, have retained their production.
Recently, a conference was held at CIAM just on the topic of creating a unified federal concept for the development of engine building for small and regional aviation. A working group was established to submit proposals to the government.
Modern domestic gas turbine engines for aircraft and helicopters of small and regional aviation are simply not available today. Currently there are only two domestic engines in development: TV7-117CT-01 for the Il-114-300 and VK-800С for the re-motorization of the L-410 aircraft.
Attempts are being made to establish the mass production of small-sized engines (mainly piston engines), since they are also used on unmanned aerial vehicles. However, they need to be developed in a wide range: from 50 – 60 to 300 – 500 hp
Another important area of research is work on a single-section experimental rotary-piston engine, on the basis of which it is possible to create a model range of aircraft engines with power from 100 to 400 hp. This is the size of the engine for the Yak-152. But it is a technology demonstrator. It is necessary to calculate how much a foreign engine will cost, and how much a domestic engine will cost.
To ensure the competitiveness of domestic small-sized engines, it is necessary to create a scientific and technical reserve for electric "smart" engine technologies. Research in these areas is carried out at CIAM in conjunction with branch design bureaux. The implementation of technologies should ensure a reduction in the specific fuel consumption of the 2035 – 15% by 20, a reduction in mass to 30% and an increase in reliability and service life by two to three times.
One of the directions that allows to drastically improve the characteristics of piston engines is the use of turbo-compound circuits, in which the energy of exhaust gases is used to obtain additional power used to drive an air propeller or electric generator.
- It turns out that the prospects for training aviation are deplorable?
- Thousands of engines are needed to recoup the new development. Sometimes it's easier to buy or localize production. This is a difficult problem. Piston engines, probably, can be developed only on the basis of import substitution. Of course, engines for UAVs can go into mass production, as scientists are now thinking about the concept of "swarm", that is, a large number of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicle). There are already many projects, we regularly conduct an examination of some of them. Everything is evolving, but there is a big problem with the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft.
- What can you say about the sensational statement of Chinese scientists this year, who reported on the creation of a “working” version of the EmDrive microwave engine? Is his work really impossible to explain by the fundamental laws of physics? Theoretically - is it possible to create something like that?
- The EmDrive engine consists of a microwave-generating magnetron device and a resonator. Its principle of operation is a new concept of electrojet engines, which directly convert the supplied electrical energy into cravings. There is no violation of the laws of physics here. The engine produces a "constant" thrust, without spending fuel, and using the energy of microwaves.
However, if evidence of EmDrive's health existed, they would require serious work by theorists. For the time being, the lack of explanation is an unshakable rock, about which all the arguments of enthusiasts of the “impossible” engine break. Someone likes to notice what works — well, it’s not necessary to know how. But such an approach can lead to unexpected problems in practical use. For example, if the engine is connected to a magnetic field, then it may unpredictably behave among the magnetic fields of outer space. But no one needs the apparatus to lose its only source of thrust somewhere halfway to Mars or distant Kuiper belt objects. By the classical requirement to present reliable evidence must necessarily be attached and the requirement to explain everything that happens in the engine. While the creators of EmDrive can not show either one or the other.