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PCA in European Union VITAL project

Posted on 14th March 2007

VITAL will contribute significantly to the ambitious European targets for aerospace defined in ACARE, and will address aircraft engine performance issues concerning the fan, compressor, and LP turbine, which will have huge consequences for the engine cycle and layout. The overall aim is to shift the optimum by-pass ratio from the present value of 8 or so to about 12. This will represent a breakthrough in engine design of the same magnitude as that which brought about the first high by-pass ratio engines of the 1970's, leading to dramatic decrease in engine noise and improvement in fuel consumption. The planned pay-off year for ACARE is 2020, half a century on from that earlier period of landmark engine design achievement.

Noise generated by the fan is substantially defined by its tip speed and to accommodate higher by-pass ratios - with the same or lower tip speeds - inevitably leads to lower fan rotational speed. The fan then has less pressure ratio capability at the hub and, to compensate for this, ‘booster stages' will be added downstream of the fan -in the core section of the engine after the by-pass splitter - in order to restore the pressure rise of the air entering the intermediate/high pressure compressor stages. Booster stages are axial compressor stages driven off the engine's low pressure (LP) shaft, thus running at the same rotational speed as the fan.

The booster stages are to be developed under Package SP3 and PCA Engineers will form part of the team of companies that are to implement this package. The team includes: Techspace Aero which is part of SNECMA (Leader), Volvo Aero Corporation, DLR, and MTU. The booster package will contribute to all three proposed solutions for the overall engine concept. These are: the Direct Drive TurboFan (DDTF), the Contra Rotative TurboFan (CRTF)and Geared TurboFan (GTF).

The SP3 funding amounts to 12 million euros over 4 years.

Lincoln, UK, edited 27th February 2007

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