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TRUflow Wind Tunnel Testing

Written by: A Preece

Staff from ARA are currently at RUAG’s wind-tunnel test facility in Emmen, Switzerland as part of a European CleanSky2 project, TRUflow. This project involves testing a model of a Thrust Reverser in order to develop novel simulation and visualisation methods. The two week wind-tunnel test campaign at the Large Subsonic Wind-tunnel in Emmen (LTWE) is the culmination of three years of hard work by three teams from ARA, the University of Manchester and RUAG itself.

CleanSky2 projects are funded by the European Union to encourage the development of more efficient and sustainable aerospace technologies with a view to significantly reducing aviation fuel burn, emissions and noise levels over coming decades.

The Thrust Reverser Unit Flow visualisation (or TRUFlow) project is attempting to research new ways to visualise and simulate the aerodynamic interactions of jet engine thrust reverser units and fan stages with a view to allow efficient design of such units to effectively bring an aircraft to a halt on the runway after landing. The aerodynamics of Thrust Reverser Units (TRUs) is not well understood and this project represents a significant step forward in optical measurement techniques, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methodology and wind-tunnel model development.

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To reach this point a number of significant technical hurdles have had to be surmounted. Firstly, a representative wind-tunnel model has had to be designed and created. In order to force the air out of the TRU for the wind-tunnel test, a fan and motor system has had to be designed, manufactured and tested. This has been done as a partnership between RUAG (who have been responsible for the motor development) and ARA who have designed the rest of the model in collaboration with the University of Cambridge. Optical techniques to visualise the flow within and around TRU have been developed by a team at the University of Manchester. In addition to providing management and coordination for the project as a whole, ARA is developing novel CFD methods to allow simulation of a typical TRU with a view to creating useful computational tools for the purpose of design.

Technical manager for TRUflow, Dr. Adam Preece gave the following comment. “TRUflow represents a significant investment by not only the EU but also the partner companies towards the sustainability of the aerospace sector. The techniques developed for TRUflow will greatly assist aircraft design companies in developing more efficient and sustainable aircraft. Some of the best engineers, researchers and technicians of ARA, the University of Manchester and RUAG have been working hard on these techniques in recent years and we’re looking forward to sharing our findings in due course.”

Further details of the model, motor and measurement techniques will be presented in coming months so watch this space!
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