HEATABLE FLOOR PANEL AND FLOOR HEATING SYSTEM FOR AN AIRCRAFT
1. A heatable floor panel for an aircraft, comprising:
- a supporting level,a heat-generating level, anda heat-conducting level,the heat-generating level comprising a fiber composite layer with fibers and with a matrix surrounding the fibers,the fibers being at least partially formed as conducting fibers, andthe conducting fibers being formed as carbon fibers with an electrically insulating coating.
A heatable floor panel for an aircraft, with a supporting level, a heat-generating level and a heat-conducting level. The heat-generating level comprises a fiber composite layer with fibers and with a matrix surrounding the fibers. The fibers are at least partially formed as conducting fiber, and the conducting fibers are formed as carbon fibers with an electrically insulating coating. The conducting fibers integrated in the floor panel in order to conduct a heating current through them. Due to the electrically insulating coating of the conducting fibers, leakage currents are avoided. The carbon fibers serve not only as heating elements, but, at the same time, also as reinforcing fibers of the fiber composite layer or of the floor panel.
- 1. A heatable floor panel for an aircraft, comprising:
a supporting level, a heat-generating level, and a heat-conducting level, the heat-generating level comprising a fiber composite layer with fibers and with a matrix surrounding the fibers, the fibers being at least partially formed as conducting fibers, and the conducting fibers being formed as carbon fibers with an electrically insulating coating.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
This application claims the benefit of the German patent application No. 10 2018 002 917.5 filed on Apr. 10, 2018, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by way of reference.
The invention relates to heatable floor panel for an aircraft and also to a floor heating system for the cabin floor of an aircraft cabin.
In the case of commercially used aircraft, an appropriate temperature distribution in the aircraft cabin is important for the comfort of the passengers, pilots and crew. Due to the comparatively direct contact between the floor and the structure of an aircraft, there may, in principle, be an undesired heat loss from the cabin space to the outer skin.
At low ambient temperatures, such as are encountered at the usual flying altitude of commercial aircraft or even on the ground in cold weather, this heat loss has the consequence that the floor in the aircraft may cool down. Intensified cooling down may occur, in particular, in the regions near the aircraft doors, since the aircraft doors are typically opened when the aircraft is on ground.
In order to prevent undesired cooling, it is known to heat the floor by means of electrical heating mats. These may also be provided in the region of the aircraft doors.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved solution for heating the floor of an aircraft, in particular in the region of the aircraft doors.
An object of the invention is achieved by a heatable floor panel for an aircraft, with a supporting level, a heat-generating level, and a heat-conducting level, the heat-generating level comprising a fiber composite layer with fibers and with a matrix surrounding the fibers, the fibers being at least partially formed as conducting fibers, and the conducting fibers being formed as carbon fibers with an electrically insulating coating. An idea on which the present invention is based is to use coated carbon fibers as electrical conductors for a heatable floor panel or for a floor heating system. According to the invention, the conducting fibers are integrated in the floor panel, it being possible for a power source to be applied to the ends of the fibers in order to conduct a heating current through them. Due to the electrically insulating coating of the conducting fibers, leakage currents or similar effects can be completely avoided, since the insulated fibers can by all means touch without a leakage current occurring. Such coatings of carbon fibers can be produced with a very high temperature resistance of up to over 700 degrees Celsius even in mass production relatively inexpensively and time-efficiently. A further advantage of the invention is obtained because the carbon fibers of the conducting fibers can serve directly as reinforcing fibers of the fiber composite layer and to a certain extent form a natural component part of the fiber composite layer without discontinuities or electrochemical reactions occurring. The electrically insulating coating can furthermore be selected in such a way that there are no impairments of the bonding behavior, i.e., the conducting fibers have a bonding behavior similar to uncoated carbon fibers.
In principle, the conducting fibers can be processed and treated in the production of the fiber composite in just the same way as uncoated carbon fibers that are usually used. In addition, the conducting fibers can even act directly as reinforcing fibers of the fiber composite component.
Not all of the fibers of the floor panel according to the invention have to be formed as conducting fibers, that is to say, as carbon fibers with an electrically insulating coating. It may also be the case that only a certain proportion of the fibers in the fiber composite layer are formed as conducting fibers and another proportion of the fibers are formed conventionally, that is to say, for example, as fibers that are not flowed through by current (i.e., without an insulating coating and/or in the form of a not electrically conducting glass fiber). The conducting fibers according to the invention are generally massive or solid fibers (that is to say, with a conducting cross section right through). In principle, however, conducting fibers according to the invention that have a cavity along their longitudinal fiber direction (hollow fibers) are also conceivable.
The supporting level of the floor panel according to the invention may, for example, comprise a layer with a honeycomb structure. Such honeycomb structures substantially give the aircraft floor panel its structural strength. It goes without saying that, in addition to such a honeycomb structure, further fiber composite structures may also be provided, such as one or more further fiber composite layers (for example prepregs, etc.) on one or both sides of the honeycomb structure, in order to provide the supporting level with additional strength.
The heat generated in the heat-generating level is evenly distributed by the heat-conducting level. The heat-conducting level is typically arranged on the floor panel on the cabin side (or on top) and consequently also has the function of resisting the effects produced by floor traffic. Generally, the heat-conducting level is arranged over (above) the heat-generating level and the heat-generating level is arranged over the supporting level.
The floor panel according to the invention may, for example, be produced by a method with the following steps: arranging the supporting level, the heat-generating level and the heat-conducting level one on top of the other, and jointly curing the levels, so that a composite floor panel is formed. According to the invention, the carbon fibers of the conducting fibers act not only as heating elements but at the same time also as reinforcing elements of the fiber composite layer.
In the case of a preferred embodiment, the conducting fibers form one or more closed electrical circuits. Consequently, in an advantageous way according to the invention, a heating current can be conducted through the conducting fibers. Leakage currents are avoided by the electrically insulating coating. The insulated fibers can by all means touch without a short-circuit occurring.
Also preferred is an embodiment in which the form of the arrangement of the conducting fibers in the fiber composite layer is selected from the group: individual fibers, fiber bundles, fiber tapes, laid fiber scrims, fiber mats, woven and nonwoven fiber fabrics. The conducting fibers, according to the invention, may be arranged or integrated in different variants. The heating function, according to the invention, of the conducting fibers is, in principle, retained and advantageously retained independently of the form of arrangement of the conducting fibers.
Preferably, the electrically insulating coating has a thickness in the range from 0.1 micrometer to 1 micrometer. In particular, the electrically insulating coating may have a thickness of 0.5 micrometer. The electrically insulating coating completely surrounds the carbon fibers of the conducting fibers. In other words: the electrically insulating coating is provided on the carbon fibers. The carbon fibers may, for example, have a diameter of between 6 and 7 micrometers, so that a diameter of the conducting fibers of approximately 7 to 8 micrometers is obtained.
In the case of a likewise preferred embodiment, the conducting fibers are integrated in the fiber composite layer in such a way that the conducting fibers protrude out of the fiber composite layer, at least at the ends. The fact that the conducting fibers project beyond the fiber composite layer at the ends, that is to say, at their respective ends, means that a power source can be easily connected to the ends.
Also preferred is an embodiment in which the electrically insulating coating is formed as a polymer electrolyte coating. The coating may, in particular, be formed as a solid polymer electrolyte coating. For example, the polymer electrolyte coating may contain a methoxy polyethyleneglycol monomethacrylate. Such polymer electrolyte coatings can have a temperature resistance of at least 700 degrees Celsius, but at the same time offer outstanding binding properties for integration in fiber-reinforced components, for example in a carbon-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic.
Likewise, preferred is an embodiment of the heatable floor panel in which the heat-conducting level is at least partially formed from titanium or a titanium alloy. Such heat-conducting levels or layers that are part of such heat-conducting levels advantageously have a high thermal conductivity and, at the same time, strength in order to withstand the floor traffic in an aircraft cabin. Other metals are not ruled out. The heat-conducting levels of titanium or of a titanium alloy may be adhesively attached, for example by means of an adhesive substance, to the heat-generating level, in particular, to the fiber composite layer.
An object of the invention is also achieved by a floor heating system for the cabin floor of an aircraft cabin, with a floor panel according to the invention and with a power source for providing electrical heating power, the power source being electrically connected to the floor panel, in particular, to the closed electrical circuit or circuits. The floor heating system according to the invention substantially makes use of the same advantages as the heatable floor panel according to the invention.
In the case of a preferred embodiment of the floor heating system, the floor heating system also has a control unit comprising temperature sensors, by means of which the heating power of the power source can be controlled. In this way, the current conducted through the conducting fibers can be constantly adapted if there is any deviation from a specified or desired setpoint temperature locally within or throughout the aircraft cabin.
Finally, a further embodiment of the floor heating system in which the floor panel is arranged in the bottom region of an aircraft door is preferred. In this way, the regions of the aircraft doors that are particularly affected by local cooling down can be specifically heated, and consequently the comfort of the passengers and crew can be improved.
The aspects described above and further aspects, features and advantages of the invention can likewise be taken from the examples of the embodiment, which is described below with reference to the accompanying drawings.
In the figures, the same reference signs are used for elements, components or aspects that are the same or at least similar. It is noted that there follows a detailed description of an embodiment that is merely illustrative and not restrictive. In the claims, the word “comprising” or “having” does not exclude other elements and the indefinite article “a” or “an” does not exclude more than one. The fact alone that certain features are mentioned in various dependent claims does not restrict the subject matter of the invention. Combinations of these features can also be advantageously used. The reference signs in the claims are not intended to restrict the scope of the claims. The figures are not to be understood as true to scale but are only of a schematic and illustrative character. In the figures
The heat-generating level 16 in this case comprises at least one fiber composite layer 20, which for its part comprises fibers and a matrix surrounding the fibers (not represented any more specifically). The heat-generating level 16 may also have in addition to the at least one fiber composite layer 20 further fiber composite layers 21, 21′, 21″, 21″. These further fiber composite layers 21, 21′, 21″, 21′″ may be, for example, conventional glass-fiber-reinforced or carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (GRP or CRP).
As a difference from this, the fibers in the at least one fiber composite layer 20 are at least partially formed as conducting fibers 22 (cf.
The heat-conducting level 18 is at least partially formed from titanium and applied to the heat-generating level 16 by means of an adhesive layer 19. Heat-conducting levels 18 of titanium exhibit an advantageously effective and spatially homogeneously distributed heat conduction or heat distribution.
The supporting level 14 comprises a honeycomb structure 13 and multi-ply fiber composite layers 21, 21′, 21″, 21′″ arranged on the underside 15 of the honeycomb structure 13. Finally, the supporting level 14 has, in a lower region 17, a thermal insulation 23. The thermal insulation 23 may, for example, be formed from a foam material with a low thermal conductivity. The thermal insulation 23 has the effect that the floor panel 10 is almost completely thermally isolated from a structure bearing the floor.
The electrically insulating coating 26 represented in
The conducting fibers 22 are integrated in the fiber composite layer 20 in such a way that the conducting fibers 22 protrude out of the fiber composite layer 20 at the ends and can be electrically connected. The conducting fibers 22 form a closed electrical circuit 30, the power source 46 being connected in an electrically conducting manner to the closed electrical circuit 30.
While at least one exemplary embodiment of the present invention(s) is disclosed herein, it should be understood that modifications, substitutions and alternatives may be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art and can be made without departing from the scope of this disclosure. This disclosure is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the exemplary embodiment(s). In addition, in this disclosure, the terms “comprise” or “comprising” do not exclude other elements or steps, the terms “a” or “one” do not exclude a plural number, and the term “or” means either or both. Furthermore, characteristics or steps which have been described may also be used in combination with other characteristics or steps and in any order unless the disclosure or context suggests otherwise. This disclosure hereby incorporates by reference the complete disclosure of any patent or application from which it claims benefit or priority.