Aircraft fan and compressor blade leading edges suffer from atmospheric particulate erosion that reduces aerodynamic performance. Recontouring the blade leading edge region can restore blade performance. This process typically results in blades of varying chord length. The question therefore arises as to whether performance of refurbished fans and compressors could be further improved if blades of varying chord length are installed into the disk in a certain order. To investigate this issue the aerodynamic performance of a transonic compressor rotor operating with blades of varying chord length was measured in back-to-back compressor test rig entries. One half of the rotor blades were the full nominal chord length while the remaining half of the blades were cut back at the leading edge to 95% of chord length and recontoured. The rotor aerodynamic performance was measured at 100%, 80% and 60% of design speed for three blade installation configurations: nominal-chord blades in half of the disk and short-chord blades in half of the disk; four alternating quadrants of nominal-chord and short-chord blades; nominal-chord and short-chord blades alternating around the disk. No significant difference in performance was found between configurations, indicating that blade chord variation is not important to aerodynamic performance above the stall chord limit if leading edges have the same shape. The stall chord limit for most civil aviation turbofan engines is between 94-96% of nominal (new) blade chord.

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