Paul Slaboch, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology and Architecture (CETA) published a paper in a recent volume of the ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. The paper, entitled "Effect of Aft Rotor on the Inter-Rotor Flow of an Open Rotor Propulsion System", was published with NASA colleagues after presenting the paper at the ASME TurboExpo in Seoul, South Korea this past summer.
The open rotor aircraft engine promises increased efficiency over the current generation of jet engines, but a few problems have stalled the deployment of these machines. One of the largest problems is the noise generated by the engine. Much of the noise is generated by the interaction of the flow between the two rotors and the aft rotor. This paper describes the fluid mechanics of the inter-rotor region of the engine and also validated a computational fluid dynamics code being used to predict the noise of future engines.
This work led to a follow up project that has recently been funded by the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium. The Faculty Research Grant was funded for $20,000 to further study the inter-rotor flow field. This grant will support graduate and undergraduate students who will work with Prof. Slaboch to determine the effects of the aft rotor on the forward rotor blade wakes.
Slaboch PE, Stephens DB, Van Zante DE, Wernet MP. Effect of Aft Rotor on the Inter-Rotor Flow of an Open Rotor Propulsion System. ASME. J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2016;139(4):041202-041202-10. doi:10.1115/1.4034356.