One of the research areas at the Institute of Jet Propulsion focuses on the design and optimization of s-shaped engine inlet configurations. The distortion being evoked within such inlet ducts should be limited to ensure an optimal performance, stability, and durability of the engine's compression system. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) play a major role in the design process of bent engine inlet ducts. The flow within such ducts can be computed, distortion patterns can be visualized, and related distortion coefficients are easily calculated. The impact of a distortion on flow phenomena within the compressor system can, however, only be computed with major computational efforts and thus the quality of an s-duct design in development is usually assessed by analyzing the evoked distortion with suitable distortion coefficients without a true knowledge of the duct's influence on the downstream propulsion system. The influence of inlet distortion on both the performance and stability of the Larzac 04 jet engine was parameterized during experimental investigations at the engine test bed of the Institute of Jet Propulsion. Both pressure and swirl distortion patterns as they typically occur in s-duct inlet configurations were reproduced with distortion generators. Pressure distortion patterns were generated using seven types of distortion screens. The intensity of the distortion varies with the mesh size of the screen whereas the extension of the distortion is defined by the dimensions of the screen in radial and circumferential direction. A typical counter rotating twin-swirl was generated with a delta-wing installed upstream of the compressor system. First, the development of flow distortion was analyzed for several engine operating points (EOPs). A linear relation between the total pressure loss in the engine inlet and the EOPs was found. Second, the flow within the compressor system with an inlet distortion was analyzed and unsteady flow phenomena were detected for severe inlet distortions. Finally, the effect of both pressure and swirl distortion on the performance and stability of the test vehicle was parameterized. A loss in engine performance with increasing inlet distortion is observable. The limiting inlet distortion with respect to engine stability was found; and moreover, it was shown that pressure distortion has a stronger influence on the stability of the compressor system compared to a counter rotating twin-swirl distortion. The presented parameterization was essential for the s-duct design, which was under development for an experimental setup with the Larzac 04 jet engine.

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