AEROPZT will address the challenge of developing more capable piezoelectric ceramics, protective encapsulation systems and actuator designs, targeting fluid flow control challenges (e.g. lean-burn combustion fuel staging). In this application the aim is to maintain precise control of flow between pilot-mains fuel streams to enable combustion processes that reduce NOx emissions. Additional active control elements include management of lean-combustion thermoacoustic instability and lean-blow out. It is expected that the technologies developed within this project will have a wide range of device applications, such as direct clearance control actuation, air flow manipulation for boundary layer control and sensor devices.
The specific objectives of the AEROPZT project are:
- Development and manufacture of piezo-electric materials capable of operating over the temperature range -40°C to 180°C, whilst maintaining sufficient margin from the Curie temperature to prevent depolarisation in use.
- Development of an encapsulation methodology and processing methods to enable the piezo elements to operate reliably in a fuel-wetted environment.
- Design of a piezo element stack which is capable of delivering the force and stroke required for a typical fuel staging valve.
- Design of the complete actuator assembly for the fuel staging valve assembly.
- Determination of cyclic life requirements for the fuel staging application and demonstration that this performance can be delivered by the piezo stack and complete actuator assembly.
- Accelerated environmental testing to determine possible failure modes.
- To gain knowledge of the degradation processes both on a macro level (in terms of the performance as a valve element) and any changes in the material micro-structure as a result of the degradation processes.