50: Aeronautics :strong links with industry

When the UTC-Roberval Lab was created, back in 2000, by the merger of the LG2mS (Mechanical engineering and for Materials and Structures) and some other research units, it was placed under a joint hierarchy: UTC and the CNRS. So, what are key features of the Roberval research Lab? Firstly, we can cite the noteworthy, excellent reputation of the research scientists’ teams and the strong links they have built with a variety of industrial sectors.

50: Aeronautics :strong links with industry

Mufflers for helicopters

Full Professor Emmanuel Perrey-Debain since 2015, heads the Acoustics and Vibration research team at the UTC-Roberval Laboratory. He also co-supervises, with Prof Emmanuel Lefrançois, a CIFRE industrial thesis financed by Airbus Helicopters on the noise generated in air conditioning systems.

The team on Acoustics and Vibrations, with 17 staff members comprising both tenured scientists, postdocs and PhD students is the smallest of UTC-Roberval's five research teams.

"We train and graduate some 20 engineers each year. We have our own specialty slot. Besides UTC and its Roberval Lab, there are currently two other acoustics and vibration schools in France: one in Le Mans, the other in Lyons", explains Prof Perrey-Debain. More will doubtless follow since "the offer today falls clearly short of demand expressed by the industrialists", he adds. All the more so that collaborating with industrial sectors is an integral part of UTC's DNA, and particularly so at the UTC-Roberval Lab, who show the largest annual business turnover of all the units at UTC, via UTEAM Compiegne - the in-house contract research company and ESCOM (Organic and Mineral Chemistry).

One specific feature that Emmanuel Perrey-Debain enjoys hollering about, "loud and strong". "We work with real matter and o problems that face the industrialists and our remit is try to find solutions to their problems whilst continuing to enrich the associate academic knowledge base", he emphasizes. A case in point is the HEXENOR project that began in 2012, under the European Clean Sky Programme aimed at making aircraft cleaner and less noisy. What is the objective shared by UTC and its partners? It consists of designing and assembling a muffler/ silencer unit specially aimed at helicopters, in order to reduce the noise level generated by the engine. Also worth mentioning, the themes of several PhD theses that have recently been presented (or which are ongoing). One, now completed, is about "aero-vibro-acoustics", viz., how to predict and prevent (minimize) noise and vibrations due to turbulent fluid flows. The results here are applicable to other areas, among which buildings, automobiles, aeronautics ...

Another ongoing thesis, financed by Airbus Helicopters relates to the air-conditioning units that produce high frequency noise that is highly disturbing for the flight crew. "Wouldn't the Grail here, for helicopter and also for airline pilots, surely be to be able to work in the cockpit without having to wear earphones?" surmises Prof Emmanuel Perrey-Debain, to conclude.