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Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures

Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise
H. Yao J. Butterfield S. Raghunathan Jian Wang R. Cooper E. Benard
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To cite this document:
H. Yao J. Butterfield S. Raghunathan Jian Wang R. Cooper E. Benard, (2005),"Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser
Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise", Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures, Vol. 1 Iss 1 pp. 63 - 72
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Multidiscipline Modeling in Mat. and Str., Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 63-72(2005)
VSP 2005.
Also available online-www.vsppub.com

Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade


with a View to Reduce Noise
H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang*, R. Cooper
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and E. Benard
School of Aeronautical Engineering, Queens University Belfast, UK

Received 1 October 2004; accepted 5 November 2004

AbstractKey component of an aircraft power plant system is the thrust reverser. The thrust
reverser considered in this paper uses the natural blockage concept, with only the fan duct flow
being reversed. This paper focuses on the study of the aerodynamic performance of the cascade
within a cold stream thrust reverser. Aerodynamic simulations are carried out using realistic
operating conditions, for idealized cascade models representing three design options. The aim of
this work is to investigate whether the aerodynamic performance of the thrust reverser cascade has
been improved while minimizing weight of the cascade. In addition, t1his is the first attempt of us
to considering noise reduction during design of the thrust reverse.
The numerical simulations show that despite a reduction in total reverse thrust for the weight
reduced designs, the supersonic flow regime, which existed in the original design, was eliminated
after changing vane configurations made with the 5% and 10% weight reductions. The
aerodynamic performance around the cascade and in the fan duct within the thrust reverser has
been improved. Moreover, the acoustic characteristics of the thrust reverser are improved too. The
total reverse thrust is not significantly affected with the modified cascade.

Keywords: thrust reverser; cascade; unsteady compressible flow; aerodynamics.

1. INTRODUCTION
In modern aircraft the thrust reverser is built in to the engine nacelle. A thrust
reverser uses the power of a jet engine as a deceleration force by reversing the
direction of airflow, which generates forward thrust. The retarding force supplied in
this way augments the effects of the wheel brakes and, in slippery conditions, is
often safer than the braking system alone. Fig. 1 shows a cutaway view of a jet
engine with a typical cold stream thrust reverser. Some of the thrust reversers
employ a cascade to enhance the turning of the flow [1]. On the other hand, thrust
reversers significantly affect nacelle design due to its increasing weight and
resulting in higher manufacturing and operational costs. Further more, an improper
design of the thrust reverser could induce shock waves, which will produce
unwanted noise. Therefore, the thrust reverser is a key component of an aircraft
power-plant system. Any reduction in the weight of aircraft components will reduce
fuel consumption resulting in lower operational costs [2].

*
To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: j.wang@qub.ac.uk
64 H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang, et al.
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Figure 1. A section through a typical cold stream thrust reverser

A thrust reverser offers a number of operational advantages. Some of the


advantages of having a thrust reverser are as follows [3]:
shortening of landing runs
less wear and tear of aircraft brakes
safer landing in adverse weather conditions
additional safety and control margins during aborted take-offs
There are broadly two types of thrust reversers [4]:
(a) using both core flow and fan flow;
(b) using fan flow only.
The thrust reverser considered in this study uses the natural blockage concept and
reverses fan flow only. Schematic sketches of natural blockage thrust are
presented in Figure 2 for the deployed configuration. This concept has no blocker
doors or links and with fewer moving parts, is therefore more reliable and
maintainable than many other thrust reverser types. It has increased reverse thrust
allowing engine to run slower in reverse mode, and counterbalance mechanism that
eliminates the need for powered door. The natural blockage thrust reverser
represents the next generation in cascade / translating cowl style designs.

Figure 2. Geometry of the thrust reverser computational fluid dynamics model

Previous numerical simulations have demonstrated that the flow entering the fan
duct of the thrust reverser is presented with a rapid expansion, while the natural
blockage thrust reverser with the reverser fully deployed. This occurs just as the
Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise 65

flow is accelerating around the curved surface of the diverter fairing. The
combination of rapid expansion and high rate of turning results in flow separation.
This separation flow occurs on the divert fairing of the fan duct, and results in the
pressure increase rapidly. In addition, the high pressure and velocity within the fan
duct during reverse thrust can lead to supersonic and turbulent flow regimes, and
result in a shock wave on the diverter fairing impairing the aerodynamic
performance and making a big noise as well. These factors can lead to issues with
the strength and durability of nacelle components such as the cascade. The aim of
this work is to minimize weight while maintaining or improving aerodynamic
performance. To illustrate how component design can be improved, it is important to
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investigate whether the aerodynamic performance on components of the nacelle


system has been improved.

Fig. 3 Thrust reverser cascade for three design options

In this paper, a cascade has been assessed using computational fluid dynamics
(CFD) methods. Three designs of a thrust reverser cascade are put into practice with
a view to reducing weight [5] (see Fig. 3). The Aerodynamic performances around
the cascade and in the fan duct within the thrust reverser have been studied. The
numerical results show that the flow fields in the fan duct and around the cascade
have been improved, although total reverse thrust is reduced by 2.5% and 2.2% for
both of the reduced weight designs. The total reverse thrust is not significantly
affected for the modified cascade.

2. METHODOLOGY
Time-dependent viscous compressible flows through a thrust reverser computational
model (see Figure.2) have been established and simulated. The governing integral
equations are solved by employing the finite volume approach. The system of
equations is cast integral, Cartesian form for an arbitrary control volume V with
differential surface area dA as follows:

t V
W dV + [ F G ] dA = 0 (1)

where the vectors W, F, and G are defined as


66 H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang, et al.

r
u 0
r
r
u u u + pi xi
W = F = r r G=
v u v + pj

yi
r r i j u j + q
E u E + pu
r
here , u = (u , v) , E, and p are the density, velocity, total energy per unit mass,
and pressure of the fluid, respectively. is the viscous stress tensor, and q is the heat
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flux. Total energy E is related to the total enthalpy H by


E = H p/ (2)
and
r
H = h + u
2
/2 (3)
The Reynolds-Averaged approach with the RNG (renormalization group) k-
model has been used to model the effect of turbulence. The RNG k- model is
derived from the instantaneous Navier-Stokes equations, using a mathematical
technique called renormalization group methods. The analytical derivation results
in a model with constants different from those in the standard k- model, and
additional terms and functions in the transport equations for k and .

3. VALIDATIONS
Experiments carried out on a 40% scale, 30o sector model of the Bombardier
Aerospace Shorts thrust reverser with cascade Design 1 (i.e. original design), have
shown that there is an acceptable level of agreement between the computational
fluid dynamics (CFD) predicted data and the parameters measured using the test rig
[6]. This was considered to be good enough to conclude that the CFD model
representing a 2D plane cut through the nacelle, could be used for conceptual design
purposes when comparing the relative merits of the different cascade configurations.

Figure 4. Two-dimensional grid used to simulate flows through the thrust reverser
Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise 67
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Figure 5. Normalized mass flow rate distributions of approaching the fan duct flow to the cascade

For validating the computational solution further, the fine unstructured


non-uniform grid with 90,000 cells based on a computational model has been
generated for the computations. Specifically, 2-D grids are generated with clustering
of nodes near walls region (see Fig. 4). The pressurefar-field, the pressure-inlet and
the pressure-outlet boundary conditions were defined. The free stream as the
pressurefar-field condition is the ISA Sea Level atmosphere (i.e. 15o C), and Mach
number (M) is 0.2.
Fig. 5 and 6 shows the results obtained by the fine grid compare with the solution
obtained by the coarse grid. The normalized mass flow rate through the exit paths on
the cascade shows in Fig. 5. Fig. 6 displays the thrust produced by individual
blade of the cascade on the thrust reverser. There is no significant difference
between the solutions obtained by both the coarse grid and the fine grid, which
shows the simulation results are grid independent.

Figure 6. Thrust normalized by the total thrust produced by individual blade on the cascade
68 H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang, et al.

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


The aerodynamic performances of three designs for the cascade of the thrust
reverser have been investigated. Design 1 is the original cascade [6] (see Fig. 3 (a)).
Two modifications (i.e. Design 2 and Design 3) were made to the vane configuration
to determine if cascade weight could be reduced. Both of these changes involved
making the vanes in predicted high pressure areas, larger and heavier and making
the vanes in predicted low pressure areas smaller and lighter. The net effect was a
reduction of 5% in weight for Design 2 (see Fig. 3 (b)), and a reduction of 10% for
Design 3 (see Fig. 3 (c)) [5]. The computational conditions used for predicting
aerodynamic performances of those three designs are set to the same as described in
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Section 3.
Fig. 7(a) shows the static pressure distribution in the fan duct and around the
cascade for Design 1. The higher pressures occur to the right of the cascade section
where the flow is physically blocked and re-directed through the cascade. Fig. 7(b)
and (c) show the static pressure distributions obtained for Design 2 and Design 3 for
the same operational conditions. The increase in area through the cascade, brought
about by changing the vane configuration and introducing slots through Vane 11,
results in lower exit pressure peak around Vanes 10 and 11. As evidence Fig. 8
presents the pressure distributions around Vane 11 for three designs. Fig. 8 shows
that the pressure peak around Vane 11 for both Design 2 and 3 has been reduced. In
addition, the flow field in the fan duct has been changed due to the modification of
the cascade. The static pressure distributions, shown in Fig. 8, have been transferred
and used in the structural analysis utilising finite element analysis (FEA) [5].
Fig. 9 shows the pressure distributions on the divert fairing for three cascade
configurations. In the past, because of the complexity and high cost of thrust-reverse
mechanism and the unlikelihood that a practical method of suppression will be
found, thrust-reverse noise tend to be accepted as a short-term necessary evil [7]. It
shows, however, that there is a shock wave on the divert fairing for Design 1, and no
shock waves for Design 2 and 3. Comparing the results of Design 1 with those of
Design 2 and 3, the peak of the pressure for Design 1 is much higher than that of
both Design 2 and 3. It means that the distinguished noise produced by the shock
wave has been removed, and the pressure distributions in the fan duct have been
improved for both modified cascade designs (i.e. Design 2 and 3). Therefore, the
new designs not only reduce the weight, but also ease up noise impact with
ignorable sacrifice of total reverse thrust.
The total reverse thrust produced by the thrust reverser for those three cascade
configurations have been compared in Fig. 10. It is found that 5% and 10% cascade
weight reductions achieved by changing vane configurations, resulted in reductions
in total reverse thrust of 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.
Although reverse thrust is reduced by 2.5% and 2.2% for both of the reduced
weight designs, the flow in the fan duct and around the cascade becomes subsonic
flow. Fig. 11 shows the velocity vectors through a thrust reverser for the three
cascade designs. It indicates similarity in the flow features around the cascade and in
the fan duct. The directions of velocity, while the flow passes through the cascade,
are nearly the same for all three cases. However, in Fig. 11(a), it can be found that
the supersonic flow is reached on the diverter fairing within the fan duct. However,
there is no supersonic flow in the fan duct for both of the reduced weight cases (see
Fig. 11 (b) and (c)). It means that in the fan duct flow fields there are no shock
waves on the diverter fairing for both weight reduction cases. Further mores, noise
from thrust reverser due to shock waves is attenuated.
Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise 69
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(a) Design 1, Original (b) Design 2, 5% weight reduction

(c) Design 3, 10% weight reduction


Figure 7. Static pressure distributions through the thrust reverser
for three cascade designs

Figure 8. Pressure distributions around Vane 11 for three cascade configurations.


70 H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang, et al.
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Figure 9. Pressure distributions on the divert fairing for three cascade configurations

Figure 10. Comparison of maximum total reverse thrust for three cascade configurations

(a) Design 1, original (b) Design 2, 5% weight reduction


Optimization Design for Thrust Reverser Cascade with a View to Reduce Noise 71
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(c) Design 3, 10% weight reduction


Figure 11. Velocity vectors coloured by Mach number through the thrust reverser
for three design options

(a) Design 1, original (b)Design 2, 5% weight reduction

(c) Design 3, 10% weight reduction

Figure 12. Velocity contours coloured by Mach number through the thrust reverser
for three cascade designs
72 H. Yao, J. Butterfield, S. Raghunathan, Jian Wang, et al.

In addition, Fig. 12 (a) shows the velocity contours coloured by Mach number in
the fan duct for cascade Design 1, with the thrust reverser engaged. Mach numbers
above 1 are in red coloured area and this plot shows that supersonic flow is reached
on the diverter fairing during reverse thrust. The velocity contours for Design 2
and Design 3 are shown in Fig. 12 (b) and (c). The same scale of Mach number
has been used for the three plots shown in Fig.12. The maximum Mach number in
the fan duct is less than 1 for both of the reduced weight cases (i.e. Design 2 and 3),
which indicates the flow in the fan duct is subsonic. Subsonic flow through the fan
duct means that there is a reduced risk of the nacelle structure being subjected to the
shock waves associated with the supersonic conditions and less noise emission
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predicted for Design 1.


Despite a reduction in total reverse thrust for the weight reduced designs, the
supersonic flow regime, which existed in the original design, was eliminated after
changing vane configurations made with the 5% and 10% weight reductions.
Numerical simulations indicate that the total reverse thrust is not significantly
affected with the modified cascade.

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