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The Heron Fan: Concept Description and Preliminary Aerothermodynamic Analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
Finn Schöning, Dragan Kozulovic

Hamburg University of Applied Science, Hamburg, Germany

Paper No. GT2018-76529, pp. V003T06A017; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Coal, Biomass, and Alternative Fuels; Cycle Innovations; Electric Power; Industrial and Cogeneration; Organic Rankine Cycle Power Systems
  • Oslo, Norway, June 11–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5104-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


The Heron Fan is a new concept of a fuel powered jet engine that does not utilize a conventional core engine. The fan, a single axial compressor of high diameter, creates thrust, similar to a turbofan. Its blades are hollow with inner channels to transport the core air from the hub to the tip, inducing radial compression. The combustion chamber is located in the casing region, either integrated in the blades or in an external ring. After burning, the core air is returned to the blades and is blown out through an expansion device with a large component in circumferential direction. This propels the fan in the opposite direction. The expansion device may be realized by nozzles integrated in the blade trailing edge or by turbine stages integrated in the blade tip region. Subsequently, the core air mixes with the bypass air, which passes the fan axially, and ejects through the main nozzle, producing thrust. To achieve higher compression ratios, it is possible to install core air compressor stages ahead of the fan.

The main purpose of this concept is to reduce weight and complexity of the engine, leading to lower production and operating costs. This is achieved by simplifying the engine architecture, integrating the functions and shortening some of the components. In particular, the core engine has been rearranged, thus eliminating the second and in some cases the third shaft. Further, the complete expansion and parts of the compression have been integrated in the fan blade. To assess the aero-thermodynamic parameters, a preliminary cycle analysis has been done, where the most influential parameters were varied. The results show, that the above listed benefits can be achieved while maintaining an efficiency comparable to conventional turbofans. Further, a feasibility study in terms of geometry, internal flow, component implementation and installation has been done, in order to qualify the concept and to identify the most critical aspects. To incorporate the corresponding thoughts and results, as well as to find and eliminate conceptual conflicts and opposing trends, a CAD model has been generated. Overall, the results are sound and encouraging, hence justifying future investigations. However, the Heron Fan concept also brings structural, thermal and aerodynamic challenges which are illustrated and briefly discussed, but still need detailed investigation.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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