Aerometals’ (Booth C429) latest engine inlet barrier filter (IBF) products represent a significant leap forward in IBF design, the company says. The company is using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to assess airflow characteristics around and through the filter, resulting in a lighter and more efficient design. Among the most recent of filters to employ this design approach is the flat Airbus H130 (EC130T2) IBF, which last summer received an FAA STC.
“The old way of designing a filter was very simple: the more filter area you have, the more dirt you can collect,” said Tony Bohm, who formerly directed business development for the Northern California-based parts manufacturer. “Using CFD, we found that the old way didn’t take into account how the air is flowing, and the airflow around a rotorcraft is incredibly complex. Nearly 25 percent of the old curved element was not being used because air was not flowing through it. That’s what led us to the flat filter, which is nearly two pounds lighter and quite a bit smaller than the old design.”
All IBFs produced by Aerometals feature an oil-wetted cotton media, but the H130 IBF differs from earlier filters in that the orientation of the filter pleats changed.
“In our old design, the pleats were oriented inboard/outboard of the aircraft,” said Bohm. “On the new design the pleats go forward and aft, which is again something we learned from CFD. It helps distribute the flow across the entire area of the filter in a much more efficient way.”
Bohm says the next step is to create upgrade kits for current operators of various Aerometal IBFs, starting with EC130/H130 operators. “We have literally thousands of legacy filters out in the field, and we can provide them with a modification kit that will bring them up to this new design that’s more efficient, lighter, and easier to maintain because it’s not curved.” Bohm expects the H130 IBF upgrade kits to be available in mid-2019.
Aerometals first used CFD to design a Sikorsky S-92 IBF, which was STC’d in March 2017.