The flow distortion at core engine entry for a Variable Pitch Fan (VPF) in reverse thrust mode is described from a realistic flow field obtained using an integrated airframe-engine model. The model includes the VPF, core entry splitter, complete bypass nozzle flow path wrapped in a nacelle and installed to an airframe in landing configuration through a pylon. A moving ground plane to mimic the rolling runway is included. 3D RANS solutions are generated at two combinations of VPF stagger angle and rotational speed settings for the entire aircraft landing run from 140 to 20 knots. The internal reverse thrust flow field is characterized by bypass nozzle lip separation, pylon wake and recirculation of flow turned back from the VPF. A portion of the reverse stream flow turns 180° with separation at the splitter leading edge to feed the core engine. The core engine feed flow exhibits circumferential and radial non-uniformities that depend on the reverse flow development at different landing speeds. The temporal dependence of the distorted flow features is also explored by an URANS analysis.
Total pressure and swirl angle distortion descriptors, as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) S-16 committee, and, total pressure loss into the core engine are described for the core feed flow at different operating conditions and landing speeds. It is observed that the radial intensity of total pressure distortion is critical to core engine operation, while the circumferential intensity is within acceptable limits. Therefore, the baseline sharp splitter edge is replaced by two larger rounded splitter edges of radii, ∼0.1x and ∼0.2x times the core duct height. This was found to reduce the radial intensity of total pressure distortion to acceptable levels. The description of the installed core feed flow distortion, as described in this study, is necessary to ascertain stable core engine operation, which powers the VPF in reverse thrust mode.