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inVestigation of distributEd propulsion Noise and its mitigation through wind tUnnel experiments and numerical Simulations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VENUS (inVestigation of distributEd propulsion Noise and its mitigation through wind tUnnel experiments and numerical Simulations)

Reporting period: 2021-07-01 to 2022-09-30

The VENUS project is devoted to an improved understanding of key aspects involved in Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) configurations, at experimental and numerical level and with a specific attention on the acoustic impact. Indeed, the physical mechanisms driving the noise generated by many propellers, very close to each other, and often one in the wake of the other, are very complex. Moreover, finding information about methods, tools and strategies for aeroacoustic assessment of DEP in literature is nearly impossible.
As a consequence, moved by the motivation to develop new knowledge, and spread it across Europe for the benefit of researchers and aircraft manufacturers, VENUS project will design an Open-Test-Case DEP configuration for a regional aircraft, with a comprehensive experimental campaign to measure aerodynamic and aeroacoustic performance in a wide range of different engine installation configurations and operational conditions, and finally in the improvement of methods for concurrent aerodynamic and aeroacoustic design.

Apart from the increase of propulsion efficiency, the successful adoption of DEP can create indirect benefits in terms of wing structural weight and thus fuel consumption. Fuel and weight reductions are both enablers for cheaper and more affordable flights, with consequent benefits in terms of business and societal impacts.
In terms of noise, it has been shown that a strong benefit can be gained in terms of acoustic performance from DEP configurations against conventional propulsion system, mainly at take-off. On the other hand, due to the lack of extensive acoustic investigations, the annoyance ratings in terms of psychoacoustic cannot be valuated accurately. VENUS will overcome these limitations by providing numerical and experimental data to cover this gap, and thus letting the scientific community improve aeroacoustic studies with the aim to improve comfort of passengers and people living in the neighbourhood of airports. The consequent impact of VENUS on the whole society is then immediate and tangible.
The overall impact of VENUS can thus be far reaching. Creating an experimental data-base under open access aimed at improving knowledge, methods and procedures for more performing DEP configurations will find its implementation in the future commercial regional aircraft with a clear impact on business (cost reduction), environment (greener aircraft in terms of both noise and pollution) and society (safer and more affordable flights).The aim of VENUS is to design an advanced DEP configuration for regional aircraft, and to understand key design features driving the aeroacoustic performance by both numerical and experimental analyses, with the objective to generate high-resolution aerodynamic and aeroacoustic experimental data, to be finally disclosed under open access for the European scientific community.
To reach this macro objective the following activities are planned:
• To develop methods and tools enabling a concurrent aerodynamic and aeroacoustic design of DEP configuration aircraft;
• To design a new regional aircraft configuration, in terms of wing and engines’ installation, to target a DEP which is optimized in terms of aerodynamic and aeroacoustic performance;
• To preliminarily assess possible benefits of different technologies aimed at mitigating noise emissions;
• To design and manufacture a representative test article for WT aeroacoustic tests, able to allow for configuration changes, in terms of engine-wing and engine-engine installation configurations, and to test the selected noise mitigation technologies;
• To instrument test article and WT, and to perform experimental parameterized tests;
• To perform a final experimental-numerical assessment for calibrating and validating numerical models;
• To provide open access to all the produced models, data and documents for other institutions for in-house developed methods validation, with the objective to establish an “open test-case” for the whole European scientific community, unique in the aircraft design landscape.
The activities carried out so far are in line with the DOW and all the expected Deliverables have been issued. A delay in the PDR and CDR has been experienced in view of high level of technical challenge associated with the design of the model and of new components. Furthermore Covid-19 pandemic issues affected the partners slowing down the activities that, however, are now running efficiently.
The work performed is summarized below per WP:
• WP1: The Consortium Agreement has been completed and signed. The Advisory Board (AB) has been defined and an NDA among the partners and the AB members has been signed. The Data Management Plan has been prepared as well as the Dissemination and Exploitation plan.
• WP2: the activity of WP2 has been completed and all the expected Deliverables issued. A critical point was the decision to design a model to be installed horizontally in the wind tunnel.
• WP3: activities have started and are ongoing. No criticalities emerged. A measure has been planned in order to mitigate possible risks related to the propellers phase control and the cooling system of the model engines. The design of the model is completed and both the PDR and the CDR have been accomplished successfully. In order to mitigate the delay, a strategy based on the staggered release of relevant parts ready to be manufactured has been adopted.
• WP4: the test matrix definition is almost completed and the related deliverable is in preparation.
• WP5: the assessment of the numerical setup has been anticipated in order to optimize the time needed for activities devoted to the numerical model assessment to begin just after the wind tunnel tests.
VENUS is targeting the design and the experimental validation of an innovative DEP configuration, leading to significant weight savings due to the wing size reduction, and characterized by a high efficiency in terms of fuel consumption, with consequent enhancements in terms of costs and environmental impact. The objective is to generate also extensive and fully comprehensive aerodynamic and aeroacoustic experimental data, to be used to calibrate and validate numerical models, and to be finally disclosed under open access for the benefit of the whole European scientific community. The ambitious part of VENUS is the testing of a powered and highly instrumented aerodynamic and aeroacoustic modular WT model designed to allow for parameterized WT testing. Therefore, with the new conceived configuration and related test data, the main result of the project will be a more complete insight regarding DEP aeroacoustic performance in both nominal operational and critical conditions for many different DEP engine-wing installation configurations. A special advantage of VENUS is that the new design, accompanied by a validation by tests, will allow for final models’ calibration, and the full opening of all the data generated in the project.
VENUS data and results will have an impact at several levels within three major areas:
• Society and Environment
• A larger impact on innovation and knowledge integration
• Transversal and applicant impact.
The impact will become tangible after the completion of the numerical simulations and the experimental tests foreseen in the second part of the project (expected in April 2023).