The effects of high shaft power offtake in a direct drive, a geared drive, and a novel turbofan configuration are investigated. A design and off-design performance analysis shows the configuration specific limitations and advantages.
The more electric aircraft (MEA) concept promises to offer advantages with respect to aircraft performance, maintenance and operating costs. The engines for the MEA concept are based on conventional turbofan architectures. These engines are designed for significantly increased shaft power offtake that is required by the airframe, and the shaft power is usually taken off the high-pressure spool. This can impair the off-design performance of the engine and lead to compromises during engine design and to operability limitations. Taking the power off the low-pressure spool mitigates some of the problems but has other limitations. In this work, an alternative novel turbofan architecture is investigated for its potential to avoid the problems related to high shaft power offtakes. This architecture is called the dual drive booster because it uses a summation gearbox to drive the booster from both the low- and high-pressure spool. The shaft power, if taken off the booster spool, is effectively provided by both the low- and high-pressure spools, which allows the provision of very high power levels. This new concept is benchmarked against a two-spool direct drive and a geared drive turbofan. Furthermore, it is described, how the new architecture can incorporate an embedded motor generator. The presented concept mitigates some of the problems which are encountered during high power offtake in conventional configurations. In particular, the core compressors are less affected by a change in shaft power offtake. This allows higher power offtakes and gives more flexibility during engine design and operation. Additionally, the potential to use the new configuration as a gas turbine-electric hybrid engine is assessed, where electrical power boost is applied during critical flight phases. The ability to convert additional shaft power is compared with conventional configurations. Here, the new configuration also shows superior behavior because the core compressors are significantly less affected by power input than in conventional configurations. The spool speed and its variation is more suitable for electrical machines than in conventional configuration with low-pressure spool power transfer.
The dual drive booster concept is particularly suited for applications with high shaft power offtakes and inputs, and should be considered for propulsion of more electric aircrafts.