It's a good thing they exist, but better if they are not needed: emergency chutes in commercial aircraft. For most passengers they remain hidden away, as they are fortunately only seldom used.
Challenge and project:
Depending on the type of aeroplane, the emergency chutes are stowed either under the door area or underneath the body of the plane. They are subjected to the same extreme variations in temperature as the plane itself. From take-offs and landings at a hot desert airport to the extreme minus temperatures at a cruising height of 15,000 meters. This means it's vital that the emergency chutes are tested under realistic conditions. For this purpose, Qatar Airways ordered a climate chamber from DENIOS, so the emergency chutes on their own fleet could be put through their annual operational tests with a temperature variation of 80° C. The temperature range of the test environment was from -20° C to +60° C.
Compressed air is used to explosively inflate the emergency chutes in the event of an emergency. It can then be checked whether the emergency chute inflates in the required time window. Before the test is performed, the emergency chutes are put into the climate chamber, to be subjected to both extremes of temperature, one after the other. Then the functional test takes place.
The climate controlled chamber designed and manufactured by DENIOS has a footprint of approx. 8 sqm. The emergency chutes were first heated to +60° C, then cooled to -20° C. So that this extreme temperature range could be produced, DENIOS only used insulation materials with a high insulation value. The high performance climate chamber consists of an inner unit and the compressor fitted to the outside. The compressor is enclosed due to the internal layout and also to reduce operational noise. The evaporator is located on the roof. A magnetic door hold-open device keeps the chamber doors open. As the doors would freeze shut at temperatures of -20° C a separate heating system is built into the door frame. Temperature sensors inside provide sufficient measurement data to ensure that the temperature of the chamber is evenly controlled. The control software is located in the external switch cabinet. Additional fittings include LED lighting and the pressure release flap in the climate chamber roof, in case one of the emergency chutes is accidentally operated during one of the temperature control processes.
Result and benefits:
With this climate controlled chamber, which is able to create extreme temperatures, DENIOS has once again demonstrated its thermotechnology skills. The heated container is now being used in the Persian Gulf and is helping make flying just a little bit safer. When designing and implementing this project DENIOS benefited from its decades of experience in heat and climate controlled technology as well as fire and explosion protection.
The contract was supported and coordinated by Franke Care System Middle East, which had a branch in Doha/Qatar. Franke supplied the necessary contacts in the region and also had experience in implementing projects in the Middle East.
DENIOS is making a contribution to flight safety in Qatar – emergency chutes are being tested under extreme temperature variations at Doha International Airport.