Turbine Engine Inlet Systems (Part Three)

in Induction and Exhaust Systems

Bellmouth Compressor Inlets

A bellmouth inlet is usually installed on an engine undergoing testing in a test cell. [Figure 3-30] It is generally equipped with probes that, with the use of instruments, can measure intake temperature and pressure (total and static). [Figure 3-31] During testing, it is important that the outside static air is allowed to flow into the engine with as little resistance as possible. The bellmouth is attached to the movable part of the test stand and moves with the engine. The thrust stand is made up of two components, one nonmoving and one moving. This is so the moving component can push against a load cell and measure thrust during the testing of the engine. The bellmouth is designed with the single objective of obtaining very high aerodynamic efficiency. Essentially, the inlet is a bell-shaped funnel having carefully rounded shoulders which offer practically no air resistance. [Figure 3-30] Duct loss is so slight that it is considered zero. The engine can, therefore, be operated without the complications resulting from losses common to an installed aircraft inlet duct. Engine performance data, such as rated thrust and thrust specific fuel consumption, are obtained while using a bellmouth inlet. Usually, the inlets are fitted with protective screening. In this case, the efficiency lost as the air passes through the screen must be taken into account when very accurate engine data are necessary.

Figure 3-30. A bellmouth inlet used during system tests.

Figure 3-30. A bellmouth inlet used during system tests.

Figure 3-31. Probes within a bellmouth inlet used to measure intake temperature and pressure.

Figure 3-31. Probes within a bellmouth inlet used to measure intake temperature and pressure.

Turboprop and Turboshaft Compressor Inlets

The air inlet on a turboprop is more of a problem than some other gas turbine engines because the propeller drive shaft, the hub, and the spinner must be considered in addition to other inlet design factors. The ducted arrangement is generally considered the best inlet design of the turboprop engine as far as airflow and aerodynamic characteristics are concerned. [Figure 3-32] The inlet for many types of turboprops are anti-iced by using electrical elements in the lip opening of the intake. Ducting either part of the engine or nacelle directs the airflow to the intake of the engine. Deflector doors are sometimes used to deflect ice or dirt away from the intake. [Figure 3-33] The air then passes through a screen and into the engine on some models. A conical spinner, which does not allow ice to build up on the surface, is sometimes used with turboprop and turbofan engines. In either event, the arrangement of the spinner and the inlet duct plays an important function in the operation and performance of the engine.

Figure 3-32. An example of a ducted arrangement on a turboprop engine.

Figure 3-32. An example of a ducted arrangement on a turboprop engine.

Figure 3-33. Deflector doors used to deflect ice or dirt away from the intake.

Figure 3-33. Deflector doors used to deflect ice or dirt away from the intake.

Turbofan Engine Inlet Sections

High-bypass turbofan engines are usually constructed with the fan at the forward end of the compressor. A typical turbofan intake section is shown in Figure 3-34. Sometimes, the inlet cowl is bolted to the front of the engine and provides the airflow path into the engine. In dual compressor (dual spool) engines, the fan is integral with the relatively slowturning, low-pressure compressor, which allows the fan blades to rotate at low tip speed for best fan efficiency. The fan permits the use of a conventional air inlet duct, resulting in low inlet duct loss. The fan reduces engine damage from ingested foreign material because much of any material that may be ingested is thrown radially outward and passes through the fan discharge rather than through the core of the engine. Warm bleed air is drawn from the engine and circulated on the inside of the inlet lip for anti-icing. The fan hub or spinner is either heated by warm air or is conical as mentioned earlier. Inside the inlet by the fan blade tips is an abraidable rub strip that allows the fan blades to rub for short times due to flightpath changes. [Figure 3-35] Also, inside the inlet are sound-reducing materials to lower the noise generated by the fan.

Figure 3-34. A typical turbofan intake section.

Figure 3-34. A typical turbofan intake section.

Figure 3-35. Rubber stripping inside a turbofan engine inlet allows for friction for short periods of time during changes in the flightpath.

Figure 3-35. Rubber stripping inside a turbofan engine inlet allows for friction for short periods of time during changes in the flightpath.

The fan on high-bypass engines consists of one stage of rotating blades and stationary vanes that can range in diameter from less than 84 inches to more than 112 inches. [Figure 3-36] The fan blades are either hollow titanium or composite materials. The air accelerated by the outer part of the fan blades forms a secondary airstream, which is ducted overboard without passing through the main engine. This secondary air (fan flow) produces 80 percent of the thrust in high-bypass engines. The air that passes through the inner part of the fan blades becomes the primary airstream (core flow) through the engine itself. [Figure 3-36]

Figure 3-36. The air that passes through the inner part of the fan blades becomes the primary airstream.

Figure 3-36. The air that passes through the inner part of the fan blades becomes the primary airstream.

The air from the fan exhaust, which is ducted overboard, may be discharged in either of two ways:

  1. To the outside air through short ducts (dual exhaust nozzles) directly behind the fan. [Figure 3-37]
  2. Ducted fan, which uses closed ducts all the way to the rear of the engine, where it is exhausted to the outside air through a mixed exhaust nozzle. This type engine is called a ducted fan and the core airflow and fan airflow mix in a common exhaust nozzle.
Figure 3-37. Air from the fan exhaust can be discharged overboard through short ducts directly behind the fan.

Figure 3-37. Air from the fan exhaust can be discharged overboard through short ducts directly behind the fan.

ASA AMT PrepwareASA – AMT General, Airframe and Powerplant Prepware for 2017.  Get ready for your FAA AMT Knowledge Exams with the most trusted source in aviation training.   Includes the contents of the Computer Testing Supplement, with the same FAA legends, figures, and charts you’ll be issued at the testing center before you take your official test.

Previous post:

Next post: