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AEROGrAFT Spearhead Project

Making graphene-based self-cleaning filters for the aerospace industry.

AEROGrAFT Industrial Leader


Leader: Philip Herberger, Lufthansa Technik

Deputy: Rainer Adelung, Kiel University

AEROGrAFT: Next-generation aerospace filtration

Keeping dust from reaching the internal workings of any engine is critical. Whether a business operates an Airbus or a regional aircraft fleet, one thing they all have in common is recurring air filter maintenance. The AEROGrAFT Spearhead Project, announced by the Graphene Flagship, is set to produce heatable aero-graphene foams, to reduce the cleaning time of aero-material filters in the aerospace industry, saving businesses huge sums of maintenance costs and downtime.

Developed in collaboration with Naturality Research & Development, Spain and Lufthansa TechnikPhi-Stone, and Sixonia Tech in Germany, AEROGrAFT is set to produce heatable foams made from aerographene, a very low-density graphene- based material, to reduce the time needed to clean filters for the aerospace industry. They result in even heating throughout the air filter, which means that all surfaces of the air filter can be consistently and equally cleaned. At the same time, the same graphene foam can be used repeatedly without becoming unstable.

Halfway through the Spearhead, the project leaders expect the aero-foam to remain stable for over 50 cycles. Three years into the project, they expect the aero-foam to remain stable for over 100 cycles, meaning aircraft operators can use the self-cleaning properties of the air filter over longer periods of time. Further, the foam's volume manufacturability will be improved over the project duration, with the end goal of producing foams to volumes of over 200cm3

Not only will the self-cleaning filter mean less servicing, but also quicker cleaning. The team believes it will have developed a prototype filter that will take less than 30 minutes to clean within 18-months. By the end of the project in 2023, this will be below the ten-minute mark.

The team will test the prototype aero-material filter systems against aircraft certification requirements, to ensure compliance and eventual certification. Beyond the Spearhead Project, the self-cleaning air filters, once certified, will be ready for the next stages of commercial application, to save the aerospace sector the associated maintenance costs. 


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