A New Method for Generating Swirl Inlet Distortion for Jet Engine Research

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Virginia Tech

Jet engines operate by ingesting incoming air, adding momentum to it, and exhausting it through a nozzle to produce thrust. Because of their reliance on an inlet stream, jet engines are very sensitive to inlet flow nonuniformities. This makes the study of the effects of inlet nonuniformities essential to improving jet engine performance. Swirl distortion is the presence of flow angle nonuniformity in the inlet stream of a jet engine. Although several attempts have been made to accurately reproduce swirl distortion profiles in a testing environment, there has yet to be a proven method to do so.

A new method capable of recreating any arbitrary swirl distortion profile is needed in order to expand the capabilities of inlet distortion testing. This will allow designers to explore how an engine would react to a particular engine airframe combination as well as methods for creating swirl distortion tolerant engines. The following material will present such a method as well as experimental validation of its effectiveness.

Swirl Inlet Distortion, Swirl Inlet Distortion Generation