The Honeywell Uncertified Research Engine (HURE), a research version of a turbofan engine that never entered production, was tested in the NASA Propulsion System Laboratory (PSL), an altitude test facility at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The PSL is a facility that is equipped with water spray bars capable of producing an ice cloud consisting of ice particles, having a controlled particle diameter and concentration in the air flow. To develop the test matrix of the HURE, numerical analysis of flow and ice particle thermodynamics was performed on the compression system of the turbofan engine to predict operating conditions that could potentially result in a risk of ice accretion due to ice crystal ingestion. The goal of the test matrix was to provide operating conditions such that ice would accrete in either the fan-stator through the inlet guide vane region of the compression system or within the first stator of the high pressure compressor. The predictive analyses were performed with the mean line compressor flow modeling code (COMDES-MELT) which includes an ice particle model.
The HURE engine was tested in PSL with the ice cloud over the range of operating conditions of altitude, ambient temperature, simulated flight Mach number, and fan speed with guidance from the analytical predictions. The engine was fitted with video cameras at strategic locations within the engine compression system flow path where ice was predicted to accrete, in order to visually confirm ice accretion when it occurred. In addition, traditional compressor instrumentation such as total pressure and temperature probes, static pressure taps, and metal temperature thermocouples were installed in targeted areas where the risk of ice accretion was expected.
The current research focuses on the analysis of the data that was obtained after testing the HURE engine in PSL with ice crystal ingestion. The computational method (COMDES-MELT) was enhanced by computing key parameters through the fan-stator at multiple span wise locations, in order to increase the fidelity with the current mean-line method. The Icing Wedge static wet bulb temperature thresholds were applicable for determining the risk of ice accretion in the fan-stator, which is thought to be an adiabatic region. At some operating conditions near the splitter-lip region, other sources of heat (non-adiabatic walls) were suspected to be the cause of accretion, and the Icing Wedge was not applicable to predict accretion at that location. A simple order-of-magnitude heat transfer model was implemented into the COMDES-MELT code to estimate the wall temperature minimum and maximum thresholds that support ice accretion, as observed by video confirmation. The results from this model spanned the range of wall temperatures measured on a previous engine that experienced ice accretion at certain operating conditions. The goal of this study is to show that the computational process developed on earlier engine icing tests can be used to provide an icing risk assessment in adiabatic regions for other engines.