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Propulsion/airframe integration

Collaborator: Prof. Walter O'Brien

Advanced aircraft concepts are increasingly reliant upon closer coupling of propulsion systems with airframe aerodynamics for optimal performance. A prime example is the NASA Hybrid Wing Body configuration, with some concepts employing boundary layer ingesting engines. While systems-level analysis can indicate that propulsive efficiency gains can result from tight integration, stream-wise vorticity invariably arises and greatly affects the performance of the propulsor. We have developed, in collaboration with Prof. Walter O’Brien, an advanced means for experimentally simulating the aerodynamics arising from propulsion/airframe integration. A 2000 lbf-thrust class turbofan engine is used for researching the development of vortical flow in the diffuser, as well as fan response to complex swirl and wake-like pressure distortions. The application was one of the first to demonstrate particle-image velocimetry for turbofan engine studies. Continuing developments have led to new understanding of the development and impact of complex inlet flows on turbofan engine performance and operability.

Relevant publications:

  1. Guimarães T*, Lowe KT and O’Brien WF 2016 “An overview of recent results using the StreamVane method for generating tailored swirl distortion in jet engine research,” AIAA SciTech 2016, San Diego, CA, 4-8 January, paper AIAA-2016-0534.
  2. Frohnapfel DJ, Ferrar AM, Bailey J, O’Brien WF, and Lowe KT 2016 “Measurements of fan response to inlet total pressure and swirl distortions produced by boundary layer ingesting aircraft configurations,” AIAA SciTech 2016, San Diego, CA, 4-8 January, paper AIAA-2016-0533.
  3. Frohnapfel DJ, O’Brien WF, and Lowe KT 2015 “Fan response to inlet swirl distortions produced by boundary layer ingesting aircraft configurations,” 51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, Orlando, FL, paper AIAA-2015-3804.
  4. Guimarães T*, Lowe KT, Nelson M*, O’Brien WF and Kirk C* 2015 “Stereoscopic PIV measurements in a turbofan engine inlet with tailored swirl distortion,” AIAA Aviation 2015, 22-26 June.
  5. Nelson MA*, Lowe KT, O’Brien WF, Kirk C* and Hoopes K.M. 2014 “Stereoscopic PIV measurements of swirl distortion on a full-scale turbofan engine inlet,” AIAA SciTech 2014 (Proceedings of 52nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting), National Harbor, MD, January 13-17, paper 2014-0533.