Image: The virtually validated wheels are designed to withstand the CH-47’s maximum take-off weight of 24,500kg (54,000lbs). Image courtesy Australian Defence Force.
Carbon Revolution has demonstrated the strength and capabilities of its lightweight wheels in aerospace applications, delivering a virtually validated wheel for the Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter, CompositesWorld writes.
The Australian Government Defence Innovation Hub-funded project saw Carbon Revolution engineers design a prototype lightweight carbon fibre wheel.
Improving efficiency through 35% weight saving
Carbon Revolution CEO, Jake Dingle said the program demonstrated the benefits of lightweight wheel technology for aerospace applications, and the strength of carbon fibre wheels.
“Our concept wheel shows a 35% reduction in weight (60lbs over six wheels) is achievable with potential to achieve a greater reduction.”
He said the program represented an opportunity for Carbon Revolution to expand to the aerospace sector, which goes to significant lengths to save weight and reduce fuel costs.
Load ratings 20 times heavier than automotive
Carbon Revolution CTO, Dr Ashley Denmead said the project demonstrated his team’s capabilities beyond automotive.
Denmead’s team designed the wheels to meet the CH-47’s maximum static vertical load requirement of over 9000kg (20,000lbs) per wheel. By comparison, the requirement for one of Carbon Revolution’s high-performance car wheels is around 500kg per wheel.
“The fact that we can meet these requirements and still make a wheel that’s much lighter is a testament to the incredible strength of carbon fibre, and the talent of our team to design an extremely robust wheel,” Dr Denmead said.
The virtual validation report included results from finite element analysis (FEA), subscale testing and internal ply architecture design.
The next phase of the program will involve Carbon Revolution producing and testing prototype wheels, with the possibility of subsequently expanding to other aerospace applications.
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Image: Render of the prototype Carbon Revolution carbon fibre CH-47 Chinook wheel.