Embraer and Collins Aerospace are collaborating on the development and testing of an innovative carbon nanotube-based electrothermal heating (CNT) technology for ice protection systems that aims to produce more efficient and durable aircraft. The project recently reached an important milestone by launching a flight test campaign in Embraer’s Gavião Peixoto unit in Brazil.
The new CNT Ice Protection System solution has been successfully installed on the vertical stabilizer and flight tested in Embraer’s fully functional Phenom 300E prototype, the world’s best-selling light jet for 10 consecutive years. Collins’ CNT heater and ice protection controller were integrated into the prototype aircraft before executing more than 10 hours of “dry air” ground and flight testing. The first flight in December 2021 was successfully, smoothly and flawlessly, demonstrating the seamless integration of the CNT heater technology ice protection system.
“We are very encouraged by recent test results and confident that this innovative technology will meet our ambitious technology and sustainability roadmap,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Technology Development and Strategy. company at Embraer. “We are pleased to have Collins on this journey to explore other partnership opportunities that will help create a net-zero carbon aviation industry.”
“This electrothermal CNT technology is more energy efficient, lighter and uses greener manufacturing processes than current systems, and we believe it will become the future standard for ice protection – including those in ice cream designs. more electric aircraft,” said Dr. Mauro Atalla, senior vice president. president of engineering and technology for Collins Aerospace. “Collaborations like the one between Collins and Embraer help innovations like this get to market faster.”
The evaluation of the flight conditions was possible after the conclusion of the evaluation of the parameters, the structure, the electromagnetic compatibility and more than 500 hours in the icing tunnel, among other tests which have made steady progress these last years. Technological and research activities aim to further increase the technological readiness level by carrying out additional ground tests and flying in natural icing conditions. The project is part of the More Electric Aircraft (MEA) technology development approach, which includes a series of industry initiatives to secure the commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.
Radiators based on CNT technology have significant advantages over existing metal radiators. Key benefits include eliminating the chemical etching process, reducing system level energy requirements by 25%, and minimizing adverse aerodynamic effects caused by ice. CNT’s lightweight heating element is significantly lighter than a conventional metal heating element, exhibits better damage tolerance and should result in a longer product life cycle.