Complex flow generation and development in a full-scale turbofan inlet

Tamara Guimarães, K. Todd Lowe, Walter F. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The future of aviation relies on the integration of airframe and propulsion systems to improve aerodynamic performance and efficiency of aircraft, bringing design challenges, such as the ingestion of nonuniform flows by turbofan engines. In this work, we describe the behavior of a complex distorted inflow in a full-scale engine rig. The distortion, as in engines on a hybrid wing body (HWB) type of aircraft, is generated by a 21-in diameter StreamVane, an array of vanes that produce prescribed secondary flow distributions. Data are acquired using stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) at three measurement planes along the inlet of the research engine (Reynolds number of 2.4 106). A vortex dynamics-based model, named StreamFlow, is used to predict the mean secondary flow development based on the experimental data. The mean velocity profiles show that, as flow develops axially, the vortex present in the profile migrates clockwise, opposite to the rotation of the fan, and toward the spinner of the engine. The turbulent stresses indicate that the center of the vortex meanders around a preferred location, which tightens as flow gets closer to the fan, yielding a smaller radius mean vortex near the fan. Signature features of the distortion device are observed in the velocity gradients, showing the wakes generated by the distortion screen vanes in the flow. The results obtained shed light onto the aerodynamics of swirling flows representative of distorted turbofan inlets, while further advancing the understanding of the complex vane technology presented herein for advanced ground testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number082606
JournalJournal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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