Fan-Intake interaction under high incidence

14 May 2018

In this paper, we present an extensive numerical study on the interaction between the downstream fan and the flow separating over an intake under high incidence. The objectives of this investigation are twofold: (a) to gain qualitative insight into the mechanism of fan–intake interaction and (b) to quantitatively examine the effect of the proximity of the fan on the inlet distortion. The fan proximity is altered using the key design parameter, L/D, where D is the diameter of the intake, and L is the distance of the fan from the intake lip. Both steady and unsteady Reynolds-averaged numerical simulations (RANS) were carried out. For the steady calculations, a low-order fan model has been used, while a full 3D geometry has been used for the unsteady RANS. The numerical methodology is also thoroughly validated against the measurements for the intake-only and fan-only configurations on a high bypass ratio turbofan intake and fan, respectively. To systematically study the effect of fan on the intake separation and explore the design criteria, a simplified intake–fan configuration has been considered. In this fan–intake model, the proximity of the fan to the intake separation (L/D) can be conveniently altered without affecting other parameters. The key results indicate that, depending on L/D, the fan has either suppressed the level of the postseparation distortion or increased the separation-free operating range. At the lowest L/D (∼0.17), around a 5 deg increase in the separation-free angle of incidence was achieved. This delay in the separation-free angle of incidence decreased with increasing L/D. At the largest L/D (∼0.44), the fan was effective in suppressing the postseparation distortion rather than entirely eliminating the separation. Isentropic Mach number distribution over the intake lip for different L/D's revealed that the fan accelerates the flow near the casing upstream of the fan face, thereby decreasing the distortion level in the immediate vicinity. However, this acceleration effect decayed rapidly with increasing upstream distance from the fan-face.