For several years, Safran has been involved in the design and optimization of contra rotating open rotors. This innovative architecture is known for allowing drastic reduction in fuel burn, but its development is facing complex technological challenges such as acoustics, aerodynamics, and weight penalty due to the mechanical complexity of an Open Rotor. Since 2010, Safran has been developing the experimental test bench HERA (1/5 mock-up scale) to improve the understanding of the complex aerodynamics and acoustics phenomena involved in the counter rotating propellers configuration. Isolated and installed low speed and high speed wind tunnel campaigns, including PIV measurements have been extremely helpful in defining design guidelines for full scale open rotor specification. These tests have been used as CFD feed-back among other purposes. An iterative process involving CFD optimization (in close collaboration with Cenaero) and wind tunnel test campaigns has been developed over the last 4 years and has led to the definition of an innovative design strategy, which has been successfully tested during the process of the full scale counter rotating propellers design for the SAGE2 ground test demonstrator engine. This phase has evidenced the absolute necessity of a multi-disciplinary design method when it comes to full scale and “rig-ready” design. Ensuring high propulsive efficiency and at the same time, minimizing the acoustic level, while maintaining severe mechanical constraints such as weight, inertia and proper dynamic positioning under control, requires a dedicated and integrated “all inclusive” design process.
The aim of this paper is to present the design methodology and some of the wind tunnel tests results carried out over the last 4 years, which have led to the definition of a novel multidisciplinary design methodology that involves CFD, FEM and acoustics.