Leonardo has been granted a patent for an apparatus designed for load testing on aircraft parts. The apparatus includes a constraintor to hold the part, a linear actuator to apply a test load, a load cell to measure force, clinometers to measure rotation angles, and a displacement transducer to measure sliding. The components are mounted on the linear actuator at the same coordinate along the longitudinal direction. GlobalData’s report on Leonardo gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Leonardo, light-weight composite fuselage was a key innovation area identified from patents. Leonardo's grant share as of September 2023 was 55%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Apparatus for load testing on aircraft part
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11774316B2) describes an apparatus and method for carrying out load testing on an aircraft part. The apparatus includes a constraintor to hold the aircraft part in place and a linear actuator to apply a test load to the part. The linear actuator consists of two parts, one tiltable and pivotally constrained, and the other slidably mounted on the first part. A load cell is mounted on the second part of the linear actuator to measure the force acting on the aircraft part. Two clinometers are also mounted on the linear actuator to measure the rotation angles of the actuator. Additionally, a displacement transducer is mounted on the first part of the actuator to measure the sliding of the second part relative to the first part.
The apparatus further includes an electronic control unit (ECU) that controls the test load applied by the linear actuator based on a predefined test program. The ECU can adjust the test load based on the measurement of the force by the load cell and the rotation angles measured by the clinometers.
The method for carrying out load testing involves constraining the aircraft part to a fixed support and applying a test load using the linear actuator. Measurements of the force, rotation angles, and displacement are obtained using the load cell, clinometers, and displacement transducer, respectively. These measurements are taken at the same coordinate along the longitudinal direction of the linear actuator.
The method also includes a predefined time profile for applying the test load. The test load is increased in steps from zero to a predefined limit load, with discrete increments corresponding to a percentage of the limit load. The load is then further increased until a vertical component of the force measured by the load cell reaches a certain threshold. Finally, the test load is either reduced to zero or increased until the aircraft part breaks, depending on the specific time profile.
Overall, this patent describes an apparatus and method that allow for precise load testing of aircraft parts, providing valuable data for evaluating their structural integrity and performance.