Development of snake-robots for in situ inspections of aircraft engines

Arnau Garriga Casanovas
Industrial Fellow 2016

Arnau Garriga Casanovas
Rolls-Royce PLC and Imperial College London

Arnau is developing a snake-robot capable of deploying probes inside aircraft engines to inspect them for potential cracks using ultrasonic sensors.  Currently typical crack inspections often require the complete dismantling of the engine, which involves significant cost and disruption to fleet operators. The use of snake-robot technology is expected to enable the inspections to be carried out on-wing, without the need for disassembly, providing substantial cost savings while ensuring safety.

The insertion and deployment of inspection probes on-wing is challenging due to the difficult access into the inner engine components, typically through small diameter bores and complex paths. The project aims to overcome these challenges by drawing on robotics technology from minimally invasive surgery. The work will require research on the mechanical analysis of miniature soft robots, and on the motion of snake-robots to enable accurate control.

"Arnau is developing a snake-robot capable of deploying probes inside aircraft engines"

After graduating from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in 2014, Arnau commenced an Engineering Doctorate at Imperial College London, working with Rolls-Royce as part of the UK Research Centre in Non-Destructive Evaluation (RCNDE). He is currently at the second year of his EngD.

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