PhD Position: Over-the-Wing Boundary-layer Ingestion of Turbofan Engines

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 07 Dec 2022

A new airplane configuration that is currently being studied is the Flying V. With a 20% fuel-burn reduction, this new airplane configuration could yield a step-change in energy efficiency of long-haul aircraft. Building on previous research, a boundary-layer-ingestion (BLI) intake is proposed for this airplane. The proposed intake has a carry-through structure that allows the turbofan to be hung from a crane beam. This proposed integration solution has less wetted area and allows the engine to be easily exchanged by maintenance crew. However, as it ingests the boundary-layer of the upstream wing, the pressure recovery in the inlet is reduced and the fan sees a distorted inflow. The goal of this study is to investigate the aerodynamic interaction between the flow over a highly swept wing and the BLI intake of a turbofan engine.

While BLI has been studied extensively for axisymmetric inflow, the current study involves the interaction between the inlet and the flow over a highly swept wing. The high sweep angle causes cross flow inside and outside the boundary layer, which complicates the interaction with the inlet. The interaction is further complicated due to the variation in mass flow through the inlet as well as changes external aerodynamic conditions: Mach number, Reynolds number, angle of attack and sideslip angle. The question is how the pressure recovery and distortion at the fan are influenced by these variations.

To answer these questions, a study is to performed that combines aerodynamic design, CFD and wind tunnel experiments. The following steps in the research are envisioned:

  • Aerodynamic design of a representative geometry of a BLI inlet over a swept wing
  • Characterization of the aerodynamic flow phenomena over this geometry under various conditions using CFD
  • Mechanical design of a wind tunnel model for the TU Delft Low-Turbulence Tunnel
  • Aerodynamic characterization of the flow over this geometry in the wind tunnel using flow diagnostic techniques
  • These research activities should result in a comprehensive dissertation about BLI over swept wings. Furthermore, dissemination of the research results should be done through conference presentations/papers as well as through journal articles in well-established scientific journals.

    There is a vacancy for a PhD candidate in the Flight Performance and Propulsion section where fundamental and applied research in the field of aircraft design, propulsion systems, and their integration is performed. Tools and methodology development for aircraft design is combined with system analysis and design in the area of high lift systems, open rotor propulsion, propulsion system analysis, and design and flight mechanics of unconventional aircraft. Technology development is done in strong interaction with other sections such as Aerodynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Control and Simulation and Aircraft Transport and Operation, as well as industry and research institutes.


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