Research Activities in Turbomachinery and Propulsion Department
The Turbomachinery and Propulsion department specializes in the aero-thermal aspects of turbomachinery components for aero-engines and industrial gas turbines, space propulsion units, steam turbines and process industry compressors and pumps. It has accumulated wide skills in wind tunnel testing over a wide range of Mach and Reynolds numbers and related measurement techniques development and application.
The department has acquired a world recognised expertise on steady/unsteady aerodynamic and aero/thermal aspects of high pressure, including cooling, and low pressure turbomachinery components through the design, development and use of a number of unique wind tunnels.
The department finally has over 20 years of experience in the computational analysis of flow in turbomachines, and in the design techniques and multi-disciplinary optimization methods of their components.
For several years, the Turbomachinery and Propulsion Department has broadly specialized in activities related to aero-propulsion and energy conversion by means of rotating machinery. At the present time, the department teams up with the major European engine/energy manufacturers, either within European Commission co-funded projects or through bi-lateral collaborations.
As an example of such an activity, the VKI is involved into projects related to future aero-engines with more efficient engine architectures which require advanced thermal management technologies to handle the demand for refrigeration and lubrication. Oil systems, holding a double function as lubricant and coolant circuits, require supplemental cooling sources to the conventional fuel based cooling systems as the current oil thermal capacity becomes saturated with future engine developments. The objectives of this research are the development of engine testing methods alternative to flight testing, and the characterization of the aero-thermal behavior of different finned heat exchanger configurations. A new blow-down wind tunnel test facility was developed to replicate the engine bypass flow in the region of the splitter between the core engine and the by-pass duct. The development of measurement techniques for this application involved the design of instrumentation, testing procedures and data reduction methods.