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They make their ideas fly with the Airbus innovation challenge

The innovative solution developed by four students enrolled in the Graduate Degree programs of École Polytechnique was selected for the round two of the international student competition "Fly Your Ideas" proposed by Airbus. Their idea was selected from 470 projects presented around the world, there are only 50 proposals left.

They have until March 25th to develop their proposal with the help of an Airbus coach in hopes of accessing the round three, the final stage of the competition proposed by the aeronautical group. Lisa Zafoschnig, Claudio Bonvino, Gabriele Leoncini and Jonas van Stappen, students of the Graduate Degree programs "Energy Environment" (STEEM) and the "Corporate Strategy for New Markets" of École Polytechnique, are part of the "DragOn" team. They are participating in the new edition of Airbus' "Fly Your Ideas" competition, which challenges students worldwide for the fifth consecutive year to develop innovative ideas for future aviation.

Four students of l’X propose to reduce considerably the wear of the tires in the future apparatuses of the manufacturer. The tires are in fact very stressed during the landing and must be replaced every 50 to 200 flights. "This results in high maintenance costs for aircraft operators," says Gabriele Leoncini, student of the "Energy Environment" program. Our idea is to explore ways to activate the rotation of the tires before landing. Studies show that this pre-rotation can reduce wear by 99%, significantly increasing the service life of the equipment and saving costs. "

As part of their project, students explore two approaches. In the first one, they want to attach a thin film of air to the tire or the rim in order to initiate movement when the landing gear unfolds. "We will design our own prototype thanks to the resources of École Polytechnique, says the student. We will carry out simulations of fluid dynamics on prospective designs, create the model with a 3D printer of the fab-lab, and then test it in the wind tunnels of the laboratory TREX ". The second approach would allow the group to study the use of electric motors built into the aircraft's tires. This solution could be used not only for pre-rotation before landing, but also for recovery of braking energy and electric rolling. The only constraint is: "Electric motors are at the moment costly and heavy," says Gabriele Leoncini. 

The team, supervised and supported by Claude Basdevant, head of the "Energy Environment: Science Technology and Management" (STEEM) program, hopes to be selected from the five finalists who will present their projects to a jury of experts during the final round in May 2017. The winning project will win a prize of 30,000 euros, and the second, a prize of 15,000 euros.