EU open-rotor blade tests underway

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Results of wind tunnel open-rotor blade testing that started in Russia earlier this month for the European project DREAM (valiDation of Radical Engine Architecture systeMs) will be available by the end of the year.

At Russia's Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute one fifth- and one seventh-scale blade testing is being carried out on existing electrically powered rigs at speeds of up to Mach 0.85. Started a year ago, DREAM is a three-year €40 million ($56.5 million) project led by Rolls-Royce to investigate open-rotor engines and new fuels.

open-rotor-aircraft-445 
 © Fligthglobal/Tim Becheno-Brown
An artists impression of open rotors

A baseline open-rotor engine design is now being validated until November after "brain storming" in March led to concept study work beginning in May.

"A few weeks ago we provided the baseline [open-rotor] design [to DREAM members] wth some mechanical parameters," Snecma's Guy de Spiegeleer told the 3rd European Conference for Aerospace Sciences held in Paris. Snecma is one of the DREAM partners and the French company will lead work on a direct-drive type of open-rotor. R-R is studying a geared solution.

Another area of research de Spiegeleer described is integration between the fuselage and pylon that connects the open-rotor engine to the cabin. This includes active blowing systems to add energy to the pylon's trailing edge's boundary layer.

DREAM's fuels work is studying synthetic kerosene produced using the Fischer-Tropsch process as well as biofuel candidates.