Efforts to achieve NASA’s N+2 and N+3 fuel burn goals have led to various future aircraft concepts. A commonality in all these concepts is the presence of a high degree of interaction among the various disciplines involved. A tightly integrated propulsion/airframe results in distortion in the flow field around the engine annulus. Although beneficial in terms of propulsive efficiency (due to boundary layer ingestion), the impact of distortion on fan performance and operability remains in question for these concepts. As such, rapid evaluation of the impacts of distortion during the conceptual design phase is necessary to assess various concepts. This is especially important given the expansion of the design space afforded by turbo-electric and hybrid-electric distributed propulsion concepts, in which the gas turbine generator and propulsive devices can be decoupled in space.
A simple and rapid methodology to assess operability of compressors is the theory of Parallel Compressors (PC). PC theory views the compressor as two compressors in parallel, one with a uniform high Pt and the other with a uniform low Pt, both operating at the same speed and exiting to a common static pressure. The assumption of two compressors exiting at the common static pressure is not entirely true, especially when the distortion is high. In this paper, the development of a modified parallel compressor model with parametric boundary condition that can capture the impact of non-uniform inflow on fan performance is introduced and validated. Unlike classical PC model, the modified approach introduces a boundary condition dependent on the intensity of distortion (DPCP) at the Aerodynamic Interface Plane (AIP). Additionally, the concept of PC is also extended to Multi-Per Revolution (MPR) distortion.
A modeling environment which follows this methodology is created in PROOSIS, an object oriented 0-D cycle code. The model was created using the “compressor” components acting in parallel and a procedure for implementing both design mode and off-design mode solutions was created using the PROOSIS toolset. The example problem was implemented to demonstrate two capabilities — i) the ability of quantifying impacts on thrust and performance of a ducted fan propulsion system, and ii) the ability of predicting loss in stability pressure ratio. The results clearly show the ability of the tool to quantify distortion related losses.
The work described in this paper can be integrated to a Multi-Disciplinary Design and Optimization (MDAO) framework along with other disciplines and can be used to evaluate the viability of design space offered by novel aircraft configurations.