Finite element modeling of compressor blade leading edge curl, erosion and deformation

George M. Slota, Douglas E. Wolfe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Leading edge curl is a deformation phenomenon that has been observed to occur on the first 250-750 microns of the leading edge of compressor blades in jet turbine aircraft. It is especially prevalent for aircraft operating in sandy or dusty environments. This deformation affects the aerodynamic properties of the blade, causing decreases in engine performance and time between required maintenance. The purpose of this work was to recreate leading edge curl using finite element methods with two and three dimensional blade models. A variety of simulation parameters were tested, including the impacting particles’ diameter, velocity, and angle of impingement. The resulting blade deformations produced from these simulations were examined for their resemblance to observed curl on fielded components based off of their measured deformation shape and magnitude. From this research, it was determined that particles of 300 microns and smaller in diameter do not have sufficient energy to plastically deform the tested blade in the absence of erosion. In comparison, larger particles of about 1000 microns are capable of causing blade deformation in the absence of erosion with as few as 1-5 particle impacts. Additionally, impact angles between 30-45 degrees resulted in curl deformation most closely resembling that observed on fielded components. This research offers new insight into the leading edge curl phenomenon and provides a basis for future work in which preventative methods for curling could be simulated and tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDesign, Development, and Applications of Structural Ceramics, Composites, and Nanomaterials
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781118889770
ISBN (Print)9781118770948
StatePublished - Mar 3 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemical Engineering


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