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research-article

Complex Flow Generation and Development in a Full-Scale Turbofan Inlet

[+] Author and Article Information
Tamara Guimaraes Bucalo

Virginia Tech, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and Propulsion Research Laboratory; McBryde Hall, Room 624, Virginia Tech, 225 Stanger St, Blacksburg, VA, USA, 24061
tgbucalo@vt.edu

K. Todd Lowe

Virginia Tech, Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Tech Vortical Flow and Diagnostics Laboratory / Turbomachinery and Propulsion Research Laboratory / Advanced Power and Propulsion Laboratory; McBryde Hall, Room 660C, Virginia Tech, 225 Stanger St, Blacksburg, VA, USA, 24061
kelowe@vt.edu

Walter F. O'Brien

Virginia Tech, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and Propulsion Research Laboratory; Randolph Hall, Room 109, Virginia Tech, 460 Old Turner St, Blacksburg, VA, USA, 24061
walto@vt.edu

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039179 History: Received October 05, 2017; Revised November 07, 2017

Abstract

The future of aviation relies on the integration of airframe and propulsion systems to improve aerodynamic performance and efficiency of aircraft, bringing design challenges, such as the ingestion of non-uniform flows by turbofan engines. In this work, we describe the behavior of a complex distorted inflow in a full-scale engine rig. The distortion, as in engines on a hybrid wing body of aircraft, is generated by a 21-inch diameter StreamVane, an array of vanes that produce prescribed secondary flow distributions. Data is acquired using stereoscopic particle image velocimetry at three measurement planes along the inlet of the research engine (Reynolds number of 2.6 million). A vortex dynamics-based model, named StreamFlow, is used to predict the mean secondary flow development based on the experimental data. The mean velocity profiles show that, as flow develops axially, the vortex present in the profile migrates clockwise, opposite to the rotation of the fan, and towards the spinner of the engine. The turbulent stresses indicate that the center of the vortex meanders around a preferred location, which tightens as flow gets closer to the fan, yielding a smaller radius mean vortex near the fan. Signature features of the distortion device are observed in the velocity gradients, showing the wakes generated by the distortion screen vanes in the flow. The results obtained shed light onto the aerodynamics of swirling flows representative of distorted turbofan inlets, while further advancing the understanding of the complex vane technology presented herein for advanced ground testing.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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