Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

Experimental Quantification of Fan Rotor Effects on Inlet Swirl Using Swirl Distortion Descriptors

[+] Author and Article Information
Dustin J. Frohnapfel

Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and
Propulsion Research Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University,
1603 Research Center Drive,
Blacksburg, VA 24060
e-mail: dfrohnap@vt.edu

K. Todd Lowe

Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and Propulsion
Research Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University,
1603 Research Center Drive,
Blacksburg, VA 24060
e-mail: kelowe@vt.edu

Walter F. O'Brien

Virginia Tech Turbomachinery and Propulsion
Research Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
and State University,
1603 Research Center Drive,
Blacksburg, VA 24060
e-mail: walto@vt.edu

Contributed by the Turbomachinery Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received November 27, 2017; final manuscript received January 17, 2018; published online May 3, 2018. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 140(8), 082603 (May 03, 2018) (8 pages) Paper No: GTP-17-1631; doi: 10.1115/1.4039425 History: Received November 27, 2017; Revised January 17, 2018

The prominence of highly integrated engine/airframe architectures in modern commercial aircraft design concepts has led to significant research efforts investigating the use of conventional turbofan engines in unconventional installations where severe inlet distortions can arise. In order to determine fan rotor capabilities for reducing or eliminating a complex inlet swirl distortion, an experimental investigation using a StreamVaneTM swirl distortion generator was conducted in a turbofan engine research platform. Three-dimensional (3D) flow data collected at two discrete planes surrounding the fan rotor indicated that the intensity of the swirl distortion was decreased by the fan rotor; however, substantial swirl distortion effects remained in the fan exit flow. Flow angle magnitudes and swirl intensity (SI) decreased by approximately 30–40% across the fan rotor, while the presence of large-scale features within the distortion profile was nearly eliminated. Secondary flow streamlines indicated that small-scale features of the distortion were less affected by the rotating component and remained coherent at the fan rotor outlet plane. These results led to the conclusion that swirl distortion survived interactions with the fan rotor, leading to off-design conditions cascading through downstream engine components.

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Fig. 1

Turbofan engine research platform schematic (not to scale)

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Fig. 2

Station 0.5 inlet distortion profile (computational)

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Fig. 3

StreamVane inlet swirl distortion generator

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Fig. 4

Orientation of experimental results with respect to StreamVane location fan rotation direction

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Fig. 5

Radial flow angle comparison

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Fig. 6

Tangential flow angle comparison

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Fig. 7

Secondary flow streamlines comparison

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Fig. 8

Positive (top) and negative (bottom) sector swirl comparison

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Fig. 9

Swirl intensity comparison

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Fig. 10

Swirl directivity comparison

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Fig. 11

Swirl pairs comparison



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