Optimization Study of an Intercooled Recuperated Aero-Engine
Journal article, 2013
The design space of an intercooled recuperated aero-engine has been explored using detailed engine and aircraft performance, weight, and dimensions modeling. The design parameters of the engine fan, core, intercooler, recuperator, cooling-air ratio, and variable-geometry settings for the low-pressure turbine have been optimized for minimum mission fuel. Analysis shows that the improvement achieved in terms of performance against the datum design can be attributed primarily to an increase in thermal efficiency. A parametric study has also been carried out around the optimal design to understand the impact of the chosen design parameters on mission fuel burn. The study demonstrates in detail the substantially more complex interrelationship that the different fan design parameters have in terms of engine performance compared to what is typical for conventional turbofan designs. Furthermore, the optimal pressure ratio split between the low-pressure compressor and the high-pressure compressor aligns well with a previous analytical study. It is also revealed that the increased amount of cooling air required when a hot bleeding concept is adopted is in fact beneficial for mission fuel burn. Finally, the study concludes that the potential of using variable geometry in the low-pressure turbine for improving fuel burn is limited by the high-pressure turbine blade-metal temperature.