Aircraft Floor Heating, New Breakthroughs in Hybridizing Composites

What we do

We enable smart surface technology, we conceptualize, develop and manufacture smart heating foils. By combining functional 4D printed surfaces, with membrane sensors, and micro-ECU’s at the component level, we enable surfaces to interact with their environment. Introducing functional surfaces into composites is referred to as “Hybridizing composites”.

New Product Launch, Aircraft Floor Heating

ATT advanced thermal technologies is proud to announce that we have successfully passed the high requirements of the aerospace industry to launch a breakthrough product, the first on the market to provide functional surface heating within hybrid advanced composites technology. ATT is now the only tier (ii) supplier of functional heating laminated into the composite floor tiles of the Airbus A330. What does this mean for the upcoming trickle-down effect for the rest of the composite manufacturing industry?

Aircraft Floor Heating Systems

Functional Surface Technology for Composites Industry

The composites industry is already over $100 bn a year, and growing strongly as there is an unsatisfied need for ultra-lightweight performance materials allowing significant savings of energy resources. As lightweight performance converges on the limits of mechanical performance, research and development looks towards functional ways to add value; through hybridizing composites.

We use high-resolution screen-printing technology, to build up controlled thickness layers that can distribute high power densities, and remain stable even under high loads while delivering fast response. Combined with our three-pronged approach -combining electronics engineering design, with functional materials science, and molecular physics,- we can knit the best attributes together to form a composite-microstructure that delivers the required functions such as heating and temperature or humidity / ice sensing.

Hybrid Composite Functional Layer

Hybrid Composites, The use of functional layers as an interlaminate within composite surfaces.

Micro-Composites, and Smart Surfaces

Our smart foils are systems of micro-thickness layers composited onto base substrates and consisting of functional inks, power matrices, membrane sensors, and pressure distribution textures to withstand industrial integration and lamination processes.

Our approach is completely unique, we aren’t just building up a heating foil, we are using controlled heights of multilayered monolithic structures. These add structural texture at the µm level to create more stable attributes of a functional surface membrane. We have explored many iterations of dual surface textures and cellular layouts to optimize integration methods in scalable production processes.

4D printing is the build up of functional surface technology directly into the foil layer

The functional inks we have selected for the heating foils convert energy at 100% efficiency and change phase triggering a steep PTC effect.

We use CFD analysis to qualify not only mis-use case and hotspot prevention, but also to determine the stack positioning and localized strain areas that may need to be compensated in the design of the foil or the position of the stack relative to the neutral plane of bending.

As an example of our sensor technology that was developed initially for the aerospace industry, our membrane sensors are based on resistive and capacitive through-printed meanders layered into our heating foils. Integrated together with our Powerlogic® technology, we discern the fingerprint of a signal that represents either the water film thickness or droplet size and even the type of ice formation.

Using this sensing feedback technology, we can power up the minimum heat required to achieve the desired result. For example, activate the function only if there is condensation on the surface or thaw just enough water film to release ice from the surface of an aerofoil.

4D functional surfaces, integral functionality laid down in the microstructure of the heating foil build up

Development Projects for Hybrid Composites

If you are a composites materials manufacturer looking to hybridize your portfolio and offer new USPs, then we are your ideal technology partners. By working with us as a “Horizontal Industry Partner”, we can help you to increase your market share. We can strengthen your “push” presentation of innovation up chain, leveraging early awareness. By integrating our technology with your composites, you will be able to to present more “systems based solutions” to inspire your clients, rather than relying on the usual competitive bidding pool of offering “parts based solutions”.

Green Technology

We believe in enabling technology whilst being responsible for the environment. Our additive manufacturing process involves only safe materials such as carbon and allows the production of smart foils with very little waste. Additive technology reduces our impact on the environment, not just in the choice of materials, but in the optimization for minimal waste and energy consuming processes that support our duty for producing in a more sustainable and responsible way.

If you wish to see an example of our Aircraft Floor Heating System developed together with one of our partners, please download our “Aircraft Floor Heating Data Sheet” Here.

If you are interested in working with us, give us a call under +43 664 1651121 or simply email us at hello@thermaltech.at

Author Bio:
Juliana Payson BEng (Hons) Composite Materials Engineering
Business Development
Juliana is a composites engineer by education and has a diverse entrepreneurial background. She joined ATT in its start-up phase emigrating from America back to Europe as she identified the potential of ATT’s functional printing technology in combination with its integrated team mindset. In her personal time, she pursues high-performance athletics, embracing the challenge of all of life’s hurdles.

Railway switch heater pre-installation test

Yesterday we successfully passed the pre-installation test of our railway switch heaters at the Austrian Federal Railway infrastructure unit (ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG). At 08:30 pm we showed up in the Vienna headquarters on Praterstern, met the responsible engineer and went to the testing workshop located nearby.

The workbench was too short, and so we had to to place the 2 meter long heater on the floor. In order to avoid heat sinks distorting the results, ÖBB staff put it on a bubble wrap foil. Wrapping paper was applied to the shiny stainless steel surface which otherwise would not allow for reliable measurements with the thermographic camera brought along.

Test setupThermographic image of switch heater

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a first step, ÖBB measured the isolation between ground and power cables which was 600 MOhm which was the maximum which the device could measure. Then they powered the heater with 225V DC and measured voltage, current, and surface temperature over a period of 25 minutes according to their test procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


At room temperature, the heater hat a power consumption of 350W which is exactly the nominal heating power of the device. Despite the fact that the surface is comprised of a 1 mm steel sheet, the heatup curve was very steep and after 2 minutes 50°C were reached. The target temperature range of 60-65°C was reached after 5 minutes already. In order to keep the device as robust and simple as possible and avoid the use of control units, we are using ATT Powerfilms based our E-type conductive ink with an extreme PTC curve. Above 60°C the resistance rises so sharply that the heatup stops without the use of electronics or bimetallic switches. The heater temperature stabilised exactly in the specified range and the power consumption at appr. 110W, only a third of the nominal power. As a final step, the isolation was measured again, which gave a result of 308 MOhm which is far above the minimum according to ÖBB requirements.

ÖBB seemed very impressed by our switch heaters, both by their performance (and in particular the intrinsic self-regulating function) and the quality of manufacturing. The successful pre-installation test qualified our product for use in switching systems, and as a next step they will be installed in switches along a much
-used railway line for winter testing. We will keep you posted about the results …

Heating element for railway switches

Railway_01 Railway_02The winter can be very cold and unfriendly. In order to prevent railway switches from malfunction, ATT developed and produced the first prototypes of heating elements for railway switches based on ATT PowerFilm technology. They will be tested during the winter 2015/16 under real life conditions. We are looking forward to getting the results!

Fire & Ice

Last week we had the annual Mountain Film Festival in Graz, a must for all who enjoy mountains and nature. We went there on an evening with an appearance of Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of Tenzing Norgay, first human on the Everest together with Edmund Hillary. He gave us a lot of insight into life in Himalaya and in particular the Sherpas (which means “Eastern People” as I now know). Amazing!

At the beginning, however, they showed a video which inspired me a lot … because it combines several of my passions, including fire, show, nature, and of course skiing! Watch this, it isn’t long but will surely impress you: The Burn. The season is approaching … Schi heil!!!

the burn

Morning frost

The early morning can be frosty on the east side of the Alps these days … and very beautiful, too. At least for someone who can walk the dog at sunrise and then return into a warm home and have breakfast with hot coffee.

It is quite a different story for my neighbour, who has no time for walking the dog and a lot of jobs to do with his tractor. Well, well … with our Powerfilm he would have a cozy cabin in no time and no hassle with window de-icing. A coffee machine should fit in as well. We should really consider developing a vehicle coffee-maker with a sensor measuring driver mood and automatically proposing a hot beverage at the right moment! One more idea for our collection …

tractor