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Gas Turbine Industrial Fellowship Program 2005

Dual-Airfoil Rotors: 2-D Computational Analysis Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Jonathan McGlumphy
Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, IN Mentor: Dr. Steven R. Wellborn, Compressor Aero

Gas Turbine Need: Reduce Number of Compressor Stages

Fewer stages means smaller compressors Increased Power-to-Weight ratio

Dual-Airfoil rotors can possibly achieve this goal Project Objectives:

Determine splitter/tandem viability Develop understanding of fundamental flow physics

Background: What is a Dual-airfoil?

Larger Forward Blade and smaller Aft Blade Motivation:
Greater turning than single airfoil Increased effective solidity: less propensity to separate

Geometric Parameters:
Axial Overlap (AO) = x1 / x2 Percent Pitch (%Theta) = t / s

s x1 x2

Called tandem if AO is small; splitter if AO is large

Project Approach: Develop Suitable Baseline

Single NACA 65 Airfoil
37 degrees of camber Chord = 1.0

2-D Meshes
38K to 181K grid points Baldwin-Lomax turbulence model Max y+ = 3.53

Explicit Runge-Kutta time-marching, viscous N-S solver

Project Approach: Dual-Airfoil Configuration

Same camber and effective chord as Baseline: Allowed for apples-to-apples comparison Varied Percent Pitch and Axial Overlap to determine best value of each: Matrix Approach
Percent Pitch Variation Axial Overlap Variation

Results: Flowfield Comparison

Acceleration due to nozzle formed by gap between blades


Tandem (i.e. small Axial Overlap)

New boundary layer develops on aft blade, delaying separation and allowing for more turning (i.e. more work) than a single airfoil.

Results: Loss vs. Loading

Loss vs. Loading curves indicate that splitter/tandem becomes viable when the rotor is highly loaded
Loss Parameter

Viability Point

Dual-Airfoil Baseline (Single)

Lieblein D-Factor (Loading Parameter)

Fundamentals of Subsonic Splitter/Tandem

Viability at higher loading. What are the physics?
Additional metal in flow path (two airfoils vs. one) creates higher viscous losses Only at higher loading can the gains from the new Aft Blade boundary layer overcome these additional viscous losses

Tandem better than splitter in subsonic flow. Why?

Less metal for a given camber/chord: less flow blockage

Want a front-loaded Forward Blade so that maximum work can be achieved before Aft Blade takes over

Project Summary
Results suggest optimized tandem can do more work at the same or lower loss level Future work will focus on optimizing the tandem configuration Ultimate goal is to apply tandem blades to a real compressor, reducing the number of stages