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10 November 2011
A 2011 best paper award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) Turbomachinery Committee has been made to Dr Martin Goodhand and Dr Robert Miller. Dr Goodhand is a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College and Dr Miller is a Reader in Energy Technology at the Department's Whittle Laboratory. The work was undertaken as part of Dr Goodhand's PhD thesis supervised by Dr Miller. The winning paper is entitled "The Impact of Real Geometries on Three-Dimensional Separations in Compressors".
The project, sponsored by Rolls Royce, aimed to reduce the fuel burn of new civil aircraft engines by improving the efficiency of the compression process. A jet engine contains approximately 4000 compressor blades; an example blade is shown in the schematic on the right. During the operation of the jet engine the incidence angle of the flow onto each blade changes. The range of flow incidence over which each blade can operate is limited by a three dimensional flow separation which occurs where the blade joins the engine annulus. It is important, in the early stages of the jet engine design process, that the designer has correlations at their disposal which tell them at what incidence these separations will occur.
Previous research has attempted to correlate the onset of three dimensional separations to large-scale blade design parameters, such as the number of blades or the total angle through which the flow is turned by the blades. The work, published by Goodhand and Miller, showed, for the first time, that some key geometric details can have an effect that is as significant as the large-scale design parameters. The paper demonstrated that the key region of importance is where the first 2% of the blade joins the endwall. It was demonstrated that if the blade boundary layers could be kept laminar in this region, then the onset of the separation could be delayed. The benefit was shown to be equivalent to increasing the total number of compressor blades by 10%.The paper can be found on the ASME website http://dx.doi.org/10.1115/1.4002990
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