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Bjorns Corner; Turbofan engine challenges, Part 7


December 16, 2016, . Leeham Co: After the turbine comes the engines exhaust
system. This is where the thrust characteristics of the engine are formed. It is also the
environment that denes the back pressure for the fan and turbines. Its therefore more
high-tech than one thinks.

For the very high bypass airliner engines of tomorrow, the common xed bypass exhaust
of today (Station 18 in Figure 1) will not be acceptable. Variable exhaust areas will have
to be introduced.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Figure 1. GasTurb principal representation of a three shaft turbofan like our reference Rolls-Royce Trent XWB. Source: GasTurb.

On engines that function in high supersonic speed, it gets really complex. Not only is the exhaust area variable, it
must have a dual variation exhaust, a so-called Con-Di nozzle.

Engine exhausts

The exhaust of an aircraft turbofan is called a nozzle. The nozzle is designed to give the air/exhaust gas leaving the
engine the right speed and pressure. Figure 2 gives the GasTurb-simulated data for the dierent core stations for
our reference engine, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB 84klbf. The station positions can be found in Figure 1.
Figure 2. Principle of axial turbine. Source: Rolls-Royce The Jet Engine.

Look at the speed graph for the air passing through the engine. It is kept at or below M0.5 all the way until it comes
to the exhaust nozzle, Station 8. As the aircraft (the Airbus A350) ies at M0.85, having the core exhausts leave the
engine at M0.5 would mean it would brake the aircraft rather than delivering thrust.

The core nozzle is therefore converging to an exit area that will take the gas to an exit speed close to or at Mach 1
dependent on throttle position. The picture is from the Top of Climb phase, so the throttle is close to 100%.
Therefore, the nozzle exit speed is Mach 1.0.

The actual gas speed corresponding to Mach 1 is dependent on the gas temperature. Here, it has a temperature of
620K/450C and therefore a velocity of 500m/s. The Mach 1 speed comes from the fact that a simple convergent
nozzle can only accelerate gases up to Mach 1. To bring them to higher Mach numbers, we need a convergent-
divergent nozzle that one sees on military engines designed for Mach 2 ight, Figure 3.

Figure 3. Convergent-Divergent nozzle (Con-Di) as used on the Pratt & Whitney (PW) F100 engine for the Boeing F15. Source: Rolls-Royce and

For civil subsonic airliners, a convergent nozzle works ne. The overspeed that can be generated is ok for subsonic

Nozzles for civil airliner engines can be divided in two types, separated or mixed, Figure 4.

Figure 4. Separate by-pass/core or mixed nozzles for high bypass turbofans. Source: Rolls-Royce The Jet Engine.

Mixed nozzles give a small eciency gain as the hot core gases heats up the cold by-pass stream. It makes the
nacelle longer and heavier, however, and is therefore seldom used. The most common example of the use of the
two types is for the Airbus A320 engines. The CFM56 has the common separate cold and hot nozzles whereas the
Pratt & Whitney V2500 has a mixed nozzle, Figure 5.

Figure 5. Separate hot/cold and mixed nozzles on CFM56 and PW V2500 for Airbus A320. Source: Wikipedia.

The cold nozzle for the by-pass stream sets the back pressure for the engines fan. As the by-pass ratio grows over
10:1 the widely dierent environment for the fan at take-o/landing and cruise starts to be troublesome. The
backpressure diers so much that the fan can run into non-stable conditions under low speed/low power conditions.

Figure 6. Nacelle for PW Geared Turbofan with variable cold nozzle open. Source: PW.

A way to handle that is to use a variable exhaust area by-pass nozzle, like the one seen for the PW Geared Turbo
Fan in Figure 6.

The gure shows an early test nacelle with the movable nozzle part moved back to increase the nozzle area and
thereby decrease the back pressure for take-o and landing. The production engine stability margins turned out
better than predicted. The variable nozzle could thereby be skipped for production nacelles.

As the by-pass ratio grows much above 10 (the PW GTF has a BPR of 12:1 in the largest fan version), we will see
the variable cold nozzle nacelles reappear. The alternative is variable pitch fans as used for the future Rolls-Royce