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

[+] Author Affiliations
Dustin J. Frohnapfel, Walter F. O’Brien, K. Todd Lowe

Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. GT2017-64779, pp. V02BT42A013; 8 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 2B: Turbomachinery
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5079-4
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


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 StreamVane™ swirl distortion generator was conducted in a turbofan engine research platform. Three-dimensional 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 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.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Rotors



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