Method to Explore the Design Space of a Turbo-Electric Distributed Propulsion System

Meeting future goals for aircraft and air traffic system performance will require a fundamental shift in approach to aircraft and engine design. In 2005, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released plans of a next generation commercial airplane for 2030 combining the blended wing body (BWB) and a superconducting distributed propulsion system. The BWB concept adapts NASA’s cruise-efficient short take-off and landing (CESTOL) airframe. The propulsion system employs distributed electric fans, which are embedded on the upper surface of the airframe, driven by superconducting motors with power provided by two wing-tip mounted turboelectric generators. This paper describes a method to design a turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP) system on the hybrid wing body airframe, including a way to obtain the propulsor number and its weight, a method to simulate boundary layer ingestion, and a method to calculate electric system performances and its weight. An examination of the system thermodynamic performance for a range of fan pressure ratio (FPR) was also made. A comparison with results from the NASA N+3 technical reports on the TeDP system has been performed. The new model returned similar results. Finally, the effects of intake distortion were evaluated. It has been found that the number of propulsors is impacted by the motor size, the span-wise length, and the inlet condition. The weight of the propulsors unit reduces by increasing the propulsor number. What is more, the ingesting boundary layer reduces the fuel consumption, and the benefits are sensitive to the inlet pressure loss.


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  • Accession Number: 01596965
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ASCE
  • Created Date: Mar 21 2016 3:02PM