Phase Transform Time Delay Estimation to Counteract Spectral Haystacking Effects in Jet Exhaust Flow Measurements

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Virginia Tech


This study determined a superior data processing technique for correlating an acoustic signal passing through a subsonic jet engine exhaust in order to estimate the traversal time of the signal. Thrust measurement is possible with enough time delay estimates across different portions of the exhaust. This preliminary study did not take the full array of data necessary to measure thrust, but did validate key aspects of the measurement process. The turbulent shear layers of the exhaust spectrally broaden the signal, creating the appearance of spectral "haystacks", making traditional correlation methods unworkable. An experiment was performed to evaluate the ability of a novel sound source to produce a signal from which a reliable and precise time delay estimate could be found. The test apparatus was installed on either side of a Honeywell TFE731-2 turbofan research engine exhaust cone, with the source and receivers placed near the jet exit plane. The signal was then directed across the jet exhaust. This flow environment is considered an extreme challenge for accurate acoustic signal propagation. A key contribution of this paper is the determination that the Phase Transform processor of the Generalized Cross-Correlation (GCC) method produces the most reliable time delay estimates, for the given signal and flow conditions. Several alternative time delay estimators and GCC processors were examined and evaluated on this data. A proposed explanation is provided for why this time delay estimation technique produces the most accurate results, as well as explanations for why the technique became less reliable as the flow environment became more challenging, with an observed 22% anomalous TDE selection rate for the N1Corr = 60% and N1Corr = 70% conditions combined, versus only 6% for the idle and N1Corr = 50% conditions combined. This paper also details the development and first use of a novel acoustic source that produces a two-tone narrowband signal emanating from a single point – the dual Hartmann generator.



PHAT, Signal Processing, Acoustics, Hartmann, Maximum Likelihood, phase transform, coaxial bypass, shear layer, haystacking