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- NASA has been studying future transport concepts, envisioned to be technically realizable in the timeframe of 2020-2030, to meet environmental and performance goals. One concept receiving considerable interest involves a propulsion system embedded into a hybrid wing-body aircraft. While offering significant advantages in fuel savings and noise reduction by this concept, there are several technical challenges that are not encountered in the current fleet and must be overcome so as to deliver target performance and operability. One of these challenges is associated with an inlet system that ingests a significantly thick boundary layer, developing along the wing-body surface, into a serpentine diffuser before the flow meeting fan blades. The flow is subject to considerable total pressure loss and distorted at the fan face, much more significantly than in the inlet system of conventional aircraft. In our previous studies [1, 2], we have shown that through innovative design changes on the airframe surface, it is possible to simultaneously increase total pressure recovery and decrease distortion in the flow, without resorting to conventional penalty-ridden flow control concepts, such as vortex generator or boundary layer bleeding/suction. In the current study, we are interested in understanding the following issues: how the embedded propulsion system performs under a crosswind condition by studying in detail the flow characteristics of two inlets, the baseline and another optimized previously under the cruise condition. With the insight, it is hoped that it can help in the follow-on study by devising effective strategies to minimize flow distortion arising from the integration of an embedded-engine system into an airframe to the level acceptable to the operation and fuel consumption before 2030. To achieve these demanding goals, non-conventional concepts are called for; but technology gap is too big that it requires evolutionary approach by focusing various concepts and technologies needed in the next three generations of aircraft, respectively named as N+1, N+2, and N+3. Noticeably, considerable reduction in each category of 1 is required in N+2 (relative to Boeing 777-200 and GE90 engines) and N+3 (relative to Boeing 737-800 and CFM56-7B engines). In this study, concepts for N+2 is our interest. A concept that has potential to achieve these metrics and has been under intensive study is the hybrid wing body (HWB) airframe with a tightly integrated propulsion system, see Fig. 1. The inlet is non-circular at the entrance and the entering flow, no longer uniform or free of disturbances, and is now carrying with it a boundary layer developing along the fuselage; the inlet is thus known as boundary-layer-ingesting (BLI) inlet.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20120012847.
Proceedings of ASME Turbo Expo IGTI 2012; 11-15 Jun. 2012; Copenhagen; Denmark.
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