Seals from Trelleborg Sealing Solutions are contributing to the performance of the Airbus A400M, Europe’s new transporter aircraft.
Around forty years ago, the first Transall was produced. Now its successor as European transporter aircraft, the Airbus A400M, is due for delivery. Its payload is double that of its predecessor, flying range is four-times longer at 9,250 kilometers/ 5,750 miles and speed has increased from 513 kilometers/ 320 miles per hour to 900 kilometers/ 560 miles per hour.
Flexible sealing on the aircraft cowling
The A400M has to tackle difficult conditions ranging from artic cold to the heat and storms of the desert. In these circumstances, snow and sand particles must be prevented from entering the engine head and cowling of the air intake. This cowling expands and shrinks due to strong thermal fluctuations and dynamic stress, so seals for it must be very flexible. Airframe seals have therefore been specified for this application.
Airframe seals are hand-fabricated to standard or custom profiles with absolute attention to detail and quality assured through 100 percent inspection. Focusing on aerodynamic efficiency, they offer reliability in service, along with efficiency in assembly and maintenance. The optimum seal to fit the design window is developed using advanced Finite Element Analysis (FEA) combined with product qualification programs, including extensive testing and verification. These seals will remain flexible at extreme temperatures from -60°C / -76°F up to +250°C / 482°F while retaining their form and pressure resistance.
Bonded to metal on the gearbox flap
A custom-designed Turcon® PDR seal is used on the flap of the gearbox of the A400M. Bonded to a metal frame is a primary seal in nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). This is combined with an integral Turcon® PTFE based environmental sealing element. The NBR sealing element is spring-energized to ensure permanent elasticity and sealing force, while the Turcon® element has excellent friction characteristics and resistance to aggressive media including the hydraulic lubricant Skydrol. Providing high reliability, it operates in temperatures from -56°C / -69°F to +110°C / 230°C and giving a long service life it minimizes maintenance.
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