The aero-engine design process is highly iterative, multidisciplinary in nature and complex. The success of any engine design depends on best exploiting and considering the interactions among the numerous traditional engineering disciplines such as aerodynamics and structures. More emphasis has been placed lately on system integration, cross disciplines leveraging of tools and multi-disciplinary-optimization at the preliminary design phase. This paper investigates the automation of the airfoil generation process, referred to as Rapid Airfoil 3D (RAF 3D), for uncooled high pressure turbine blades at the preliminary design phase. This Matlab based program, uses the turbine aero meanline (TAML) in parallel with a database of previously designed P&WC airfoils, in-house design rules and best practices to define a pre-detailed airfoil shape which can be fed back to other analytical groups for pre-detail analyses, such as for structures and vibrations. Resulting airfoil shapes have been aerodynamically validated using an in-house 3D RANS code.
RAF 3D will shorten the turnaround time for P&WC’s turbine aerodynamics group to provide a preliminary 3D airfoil shape to turbine structures group by up to a factor of ten. Additionally, the preliminary assessments of stress and vibration specialists will be more accurate as their assessments will be based on an airfoil that has had inputs from all functional groups even though it is “first pass” design.