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Rotor Interaction Noise in Counter-Rotating Propfan Propulsion Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Andreas Peters, Zoltán S. Spakovszky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. GT2010-22554, pp. 2821-2834; 14 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 7: Turbomachinery, Parts A, B, and C
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4402-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Due to their inherent noise challenge and potential for significant reductions in fuel burn, counter-rotating propfans (CRPs) are currently being investigated as potential alternatives to high-bypass turbofan engines. This paper introduces an integrated noise and performance assessment methodology for advanced propfan powered aircraft configurations. The approach is based on first principles and combines a coupled aircraft and propulsion system mission and performance analysis tool with 3-D unsteady, full wheel CRP CFD computations and aero-acoustic simulations. Special emphasis is put on computing CRP noise due to interaction tones. The method is capable of dealing with parametric studies and exploring noise reduction technologies. An aircraft performance, weight and balance and mission analysis was first conducted on a candidate CRP powered aircraft configuration. Guided by data available in the literature, a detailed aerodynamic design of a pusher CRP was carried out. Full wheel unsteady 3-D RANS simulations were then used to determine the time varying blade surface pressures and unsteady flow features necessary to define the acoustic source terms. A frequency domain approach based on Goldstein’s formulation of the acoustic analogy for moving media and Hanson’s single rotor noise method were extended to counter-rotating configurations. The far field noise predictions were compared to measured data of a similar CRP configuration and demonstrated good agreement between the computed and measured interaction tones. The underlying noise mechanisms have previously been described in the literature but, to the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time that the individual contributions of front-rotor wake interaction, aft-rotor upstream influence, hub-endwall secondary flows and front-rotor tip-vortices to interaction tone noise are dissected and quantified. Based on this investigation, the CRP was re-designed for reduced noise incorporating a clipped rear-rotor and increased rotor-rotor spacing to reduce upstream influence, tip-vortex, and wake interaction effects. Maintaining the thrust and propulsive efficiency at takeoff conditions, the noise was calculated for both designs. At the interaction tone frequencies, the re-designed CRP demonstrated an average reduction of 7.25 dB in mean SPL computed over the forward and aft polar angle arcs. On the engine/aircraft system level, the re-designed CRP demonstrated a reduction of 9.2 EPNdB and 8.6 EPNdB at the FAR 36 flyover and sideline observer locations, respectively. The results suggest that advanced open rotor designs can possibly meet Stage 4 noise requirements.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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