RESEARCH PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Aircraft

Condensation in Jet Engine Intake Ducts During Stationary Operation

[+] Author and Article Information
J. B. Young

Whittle Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 117(2), 227-236 (Apr 01, 1995) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2814085 History: Received February 12, 1993; Online November 19, 2007


The paper describes an analysis of the condensation of moist air in very long intake ducts of jet engines during stationary operation. Problems arising from such condensation include fan overspeed and increased stagnation pressure loss in the intake duct. The analysis demonstrates that, for moderate values of relative humidity, homogeneous condensation will occur in an outer annulus adjacent to the intake cowling if the local flow Mach number attains values of about 1.0. In the central region of the intake duct, where design Mach numbers of 0.8 may be attained, homogeneous condensation is unlikely to occur except, possibly, when the relative humidity is close to 100 percent and the ambient temperature very high. However, if the intake duct is very long, significant heterogeneous condensation on foreign particles present in the atmosphere is possible. The concentration of foreign nuclei required for this type of condensation is comparable to the likely levels of contamination at many industrial test sites. The effects of condensation on engine test results are twofold. First, condensation is a thermodynamically irreversible process and results in an increase of entropy and hence loss of total pressure in the intake duct. Uncorrected measurements using Pitot probes may not record this loss correctly. Second, the mass and energy transfer between the phases during the condensation process has a tendency to accelerate the flow approaching the engine, an effect that may be counteracted by a reduction in mass flow rate in order to maintain the static pressure constant. These conclusions are in agreement with experimental results obtained on-site during the testing of a jet engine fitted with a very long intake duct.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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