Recent demands for a reduction of specific fuel consumption of jet engines have been opposed by increasing propulsive efficiency with higher bypass ratios and increased engine sizes. At the same time the challenge for the engine development is to design safe and efficient fan blades of high aspect ratios. Since the fan is the very first rotor stage, it experiences significant distortions in the incoming flow depending on the operating conditions. Flow distortions do not only lead to a performance and stall margin loss but also to remarkable low engine order (LEO) excitation responsible for forced vibrations of fundamental modes. Additionally, fans of jet engines typically suffer from stall flutter, which can be additionally amplified by reflections of acoustic pressure waves at the intake. Stall flutter appears before approaching the stall line on the fan’s characteristic and limits its stable operating range. Despite the fact that this “flutter bite” usually affects only a very narrow speed range, it reduces the overall margin of safe operation significantly. With increasing aspect ratios of ultra-high bypass ratio jet engines the flutter susceptibility will probably increase further and emphasizes the importance of considering aeromechanical analyses early in the design phase of future fans. This paper aims at proving that intentional mistuning is able to remove the flutter bite of modern jet engine fans without raising issues due to heavily increased forced vibrations induced by LEO excitation. Whereas intentional mistuning is an established technology in mitigating flutter, it is also known to amplify the forced response. However, recent investigations considering aeroelastic coupling revealed that under specific circumstances mistuning can also reduce the forced response due to engine order excitation. In order to allow a direct comparison and to limit costs as well as effort at the same time, the intentional mistuning is introduced in a non-destructive way by applying heavy paint to the blades. Its impact on the blade’s natural frequencies is estimated via finite element models with an additional paint layer. In parallel, this procedure is experimentally verified with painted fan blades in the laboratory. A validated SNM (subset of nominal system modes) representation of the fan is used as a computational model to characterize its mistuned vibration behavior. Its validation is done by comparing mistuned mode shape envelopes and frequencies of an experimental modal analysis at rest with those obtained by the updated computational model. In order to find a mistuning pattern minimizing the forced response of mode 1 and 2 at the same time and satisfying stability and imbalance constraints, a multi-objective optimization has been carried out. Finally, the beneficial properties of the optimized mistuning pattern are verified in a rig test of the painted rotor.

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