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Aircraft engine design tools for reduced emissions

Increasing the efficiency of aircraft engines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is important to the European aerospace industry. EU-funded scientists developed turbine-blade modelling tools to support the effort.
Aircraft engine design tools for reduced emissions
The European aerospace industry is committed to development of innovative aircraft designs for reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. CO2 is produced by the combustion of fuel in the jet engine and, as such, mechanisms for increasing the efficiency and eco-friendliness of engine components are an important area of research.

Jet engines suck in air and compress it (raising its pressure) using a number of fans with many blades. Combustion occurs when fuel is sprayed into the compressed air and ignited. Combustion releases hot exhaust gases that provide thrust – and, of course, CO2 emissions.

European scientists sought to improve specific fuel consumption (SFC) – fuel burned per hour per kilogramme of aircraft weight – and thus reduce CO2 emissions by half in the long term with EU funding of the ‘Turbulence and transition modelling for special turbomachinery applications’ (TATMO) project. Researchers focused on modelling of fan blades to enhance the efficiency in the low-pressure turbine (LPT) section of the gas turbine engine. Efficiency of the LPT is particularly important to SFC and to emissions.

TATMO researchers developed modelling software capable of producing numerical simulations of certain pressure distributions in perfect accordance with experimental results. Comparisons of models and experimental data also provided important insight into areas for improved calculation.

Eventual implementation of TATMO tools has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions through more efficient jet engine blade design. In addition, the tools could reduce both the cost and the time required for new aero-engine designs to reach the market.

Overall, TATMO results should strengthen the competitiveness of the European aerospace industry while helping curb global warming.

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