Designing and developing new aerospace propulsion systems is time-consuming and expensive. Computational simulation is a promising means for alleviating this cost, but requires a flexible software simulation system capable of integrating advanced multidisciplinary and multifidelity analysis methods, dynamically constructing arbitrary simulation models, and distributing computationally complex tasks. To address these issues, we have developed Onyx, a Java-based object-oriented domain framework for aerospace propulsion system simulation. This paper presents the design of a common engineering model formalism for use in Onyx. This approach, which is based on hierarchical decomposition and standardized interfaces, provides a flexible component-based representation for gas turbine systems, subsystems and components. It allows new models to be composed programmatically or visually to form more complex models. Onyx’s common engineering model also supports integration of a hierarchy of models which represent the system at differing levels of abstraction. Selection of a particular model is based on a number of criteria, including the level of detail needed, the objective of the simulation, the available knowledge, and given resources. The common engineering model approach is demonstrated by developing gas turbine component models which will be used to compose a gas turbine engine model in Part II of this paper.

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