The need to reduce fuel-burn and CO2 emissions, is pushing turbofan engines towards geared architectures with very high bypass-ratios and small ultra-high-pressure ratio core engines. However, this increases the radial offset between compressor spools and leads to a more challenging design for the compressor transition ducts. To minimise weight, these ducts must achieve the radial turning in as short a length, but this leads to strong curvature induced pressure gradients, increased aerodynamic loading and likelihood of flow separation. For the duct connecting the low-pressure fan to the engine core this is further complicated by the poor-quality flow generated at the fan hub which is characterised by low total pressure and large rotating secondary flow structures.
In a previous paper the authors numerically designed modifications to an existing test facility such that the rotor would produce these large structures. The current paper presents an experimental evaluation of the new rotor design and examines the effect of the increased loss cores on the performance of a set of engine sector stators (ESS) or outlet guide vanes (OGV) and an engine representative compressor transition duct. Aerodynamic data were collected via miniature five-hole probes, for the time-averaged pressure and velocity field, and phase-locked hot-wire anemometry to capture the rotating secondary flows. Analysis of the experimental data showed that these structures promoted mixing through the ESS increasing the momentum exchange between the core and boundary layer flows. Measurements within the duct showed a continued reduction in the hub-wall boundary layer suggesting that the duct has been moved further from separation. Consequently, a more aggressive duct with 12.5% length reduction was designed and tested with the data confirming that the more aggressive duct remained fully attached. Total pressure loss data suggested a slight increase in loss over the vane row but that was offset by a reduced loss in the duct due to improved flow quality and reduced length. Overall, the 12.5% length reduction represents a significant cumulative effect in terms of reduced fuel burn and CO2 over the operational life of an engine.