In this paper, we present an extensive numerical study on the interaction between the downstream fan and the flow separating over an intake under high incidence. The objectives of this investigation are twofold: (a) to gain qualitative insight into the mechanism of fan-intake interaction and (b) to quantitatively examine the sensitivity of the flow distortion (in terms of distortion coefficient DC60), to the key design parameters of the intake (Length, L / Diameter, D).

Both steady and unsteady Reynolds Averaged Numerical Simulations (RANS) were carried out. For the steady calculations, a low order fan model has been used while a full 3D geometry has been used for the unsteady RANS. The numerical methodology is also thoroughly validated against the measurements for the intake-only and fan-only configurations on a high bypass ratio turbofan intake and fan respectively. To systematically study the effect of fan on the intake separation and explore the design criteria, a simplified intake-fan configuration has been considered. In this fan-intake model, the ratio of the intake length to diameter (L/D) can be conveniently altered without affecting other parameters.

The key results indicate that, depending on L/D, the fan has either suppressed the level of the post separation distortion or increased the separation-free operating range. At the lowest L/D (∼ 0.17), around a 5° increase in the separation-free angle of incidence was achieved. This delay in the separation-free angle of incidence decreased with increasing L/D. At the largest L/D (∼ 0.44), the fan was effective in suppressing the post-separation distortion rather than entirely eliminating the separation. Isentropic Mach number distributions over the intake lip for different L/D’s revealed that the fan accelerates the flow upstream of the fan face, thereby decreasing the distortion level in the immediate vicinity. However, this acceleration effect decayed rapidly with increasing upstream distance from the fan-face.

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