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# Concorde engine intake "Thrust"

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# Concorde engine intake "Thrust"

26th Nov 2012, 05:47

Join Date: Nov 2012
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Peter...

The flow going into the compressor or fan is going to be at its design speed as long as the engine is turning at its design rpm...even when the airplane is standing still on the ground the engine will be sucking mass flow into the engine at about its design speed...

We can always do the math if we know the mass flow and the compressor (or fan) face area...and the design flow speed at the compressor face...which is almost always going to be ~ M0.4 to M0.5...

If we have a compressor inlet area of 1 m^2 and the flow speed is M0.5...which is ~ 170 m/s at sea level temperature...and knowing that SL air density is 1.23 kg/m^3...we know that mass flow is going to = 170 m/s * 1.23 kg/m^3 * 1 m^2 = 209 kg/s...

If we fly faster or slower that mass flow does not change...the engine is going to take in what the compressor can swallow...nothing more...of course as we go higher the air gets thinner and the density at FL350 is only ~1/4 of what it is at SL...

So if we are flying at M0.5 at ~SL the air flow in front of the engine inlet is going to be moving faster...due to the fact that the same 209 kg of mass flow moving at 170 m/s at the compressor face of 1 m^2 has to go through a smaller hole at the front...that is maybe 0.75 m^2...

Again we calculate that and get mass flow of 209 kg/s divided by area of 0.75...divided by air density of 1.225 = ~228 m/s...so even though our airspeed is M0.5 (170 m/s) and the speed of the flow at the compressor face is (M0.5) 170 m/s...the engine is sucking in the air in front of the engine due to the small “straw” opening...

So inside the duct we still see some static pressure rise as the air slows down from 228 m/s to 170 m/s...although this is not that much...we can calculate the static pressure rise as the kinetic energy from the moving flow that we have converted into pressure energy...kinetic energy being velocity squared divided by two...

The difference in speed is 58 m/s so that is a kinetic energy of ~1,700 m^2/s^2...the temperature of the flow would increase by the energy divided by the specific heat of air...which is ~1,000 J/kg per degree so we would get a temp rise of ~1.7 degrees...if the air was at 250 K to start with it means the temperature ratio ends up as ~252 / 250 = ~1.01...Pressure Ratio = Temp Ratio to the 3.5 power at these moderate temperatures...so the PR increases by 1.01^3.5 = 1.03...

Which means we get ~3 percent increase in pressure going through that diffusing duct...we can see from this that the more we slow the flow down the greater our temp rise...and the lower our starting temp to begin with...the higher our temp ratio...and therefore the pressure ratio as well...

So with Concorde where we slow the flow down from M2 to M0.5 we get a big temp rise...from minus 51 C to plus 127 C...a swing of 178 deg...we use absolute temp scale to get our temp ratio so temp compressor face of 415 K divided y freestream temp of 237 K gives TR of 1.75...

The pressure increase is the temp ratio to the 3.5 power so that is 1.75^3.5 = 7.1-fold pressure increase...that is the ideal isentropic (lossless) pressure increase...the actual static pressure increase in the airplane ends up as ~6.4 so the duct efficiency at recovering pressure is 6.4 / 7.1 = 0.9...90 percent...which is good...

However we see that this pressure increase results in the intake making thrust because it causes a large swing in momentum in the forward thrust direction when we take all forces in the intake into account...not because the increased pressure makes the jetpipe speed faster...although this occurs also...but now we are talking about a different way of accounting for the thrust...

So to wrap up a few loose ends...we see that it is useful to go through each component of the engine and figure out if its contribution is a net drag or thrust...but that does not change things...the whole thing needs to work together...without the fuel being burned the whole process comes to a stop...

So when we stand back and say “the intake produces x amount of thrust...”...well yes..but so does the compressor and the burner...and the turbine will produce a net drag...etc...it is just one way of looking at what is going on in the physical sense...

It was mentioned that the mass flow coming in to the engine is a net drag...and yes that is called ram drag and is the mass flow of the engine times the freestream velocity (aircraft speed)...but this is another method of accounting where then subtract that ram drag from the total thrust produced by the mass flow times its jet velocity out the tailpipe...

So if the airplane is flying at 250 m/s and the mass flow is 100 kg/s...then the ram drag is 25,000 N...and if the speed of the jet blast is 750 m/s then the gross thrust is 75,000 N from which we subtract the ram drag and get net thrust of 50,000 N...which is why thrust = mass flow * jetpipe speed minus freestream speed...

It is another way of accounting for the forces going on...and the most simple way...the important thing is you can't mix and match different ways of doing the bookkeeping...if you start with one method then stick with it and don't mix concepts...

Regards,

Gordon.

Last edited by goarnaut; 26th Nov 2012 at 06:01.
26th Nov 2012, 08:03

Join Date: Dec 2010
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Gordon,

Not wanting to go over old ground I wasn't going to do any more on this, but w.t.h. the golf course is unplayable, the river unfishable and its raining again ....

I had estimated the compressor inlet area at ~1 m^2...based on the engine static mass flow of ~450 lb/s...and an assumed inlet Mach of 0.5...
I make the compressor inlet area just about the same, and checking the mass flow from intake supply conditions a value of 189 lb/sec at FL580 looks about right also. The intake efficiency derived from the figures quoted would be around 94% which is also correct. That makes the compressor inlet Mach Number about 0.45.

Also surprised to hear a cruise thrust figure of just 8,000 lb...a Concorde website with lots of info gives 10,000 lb per engine...Wikipedia gives a Lift to Drag ratio of ~7 at M2 cruise...which would imply that ~50,000 lb of total thrust would be needed...since maximum weight is ~400,000 lb...fuel weight is ~200,000 lb...and fuel flow with max power and reheat is ~50,000 lb/hr...
You need to be careful with that 8050 lb figure - it is the thrust produced by an Ol 593 operating behind an intake that supplies 189 lb/sec mass flow at a total pressure of 8.5 psi. It does NOT include the thrust generated through the expansion of the flow in the secondary nozzle. Add on the 25~29% often quoted for this contribution and you are up to the 10,000 lb mark.

The actual cruise L/D was 7.5. Any Concorde pilot reading this could confirm, but I would expect that by the time the aircraft cruise climbed up to FL580 it would be at around 300,000 lb, which would fit well with the 10,000 lb per powerplant.

Looks to me like there is a fair bit of confusing information floating around...hope you can clear some of that up...would like to do a full cycle analysis on the engine at cruise power...that SFC figure of 1.2 is very impressive...
PM me if you need more detail

Going back to that 8050 lb thrust it is the thrust you would get from an engine and intake working together. The engine won't work without the intake and the intake won't work without the engine, so it is a bit pointless to consider them as separate units. As you suggest in a later posting, there are thrust and drag variations on the various components inside the engine proper (thrust on compressors and combustion chambers, drag on turbines etc) and nobody apart from the engine stressmen cares a stuff about those distinctions.

Better, I suggest, to consider the intake and engine together as a single powerplant and think of the intake as a zero stage compressor, or more accurately as a pre-diffuser set ahead of the first stage of the compressor.

That way you get to see the intake "thrust" as just another split in the breakdown of
powerplant force distribution.

Again as you say. its all in the book keeping, and as an accountant friend of mine is fond of saying "What answer do you want?"

Last edited by CliveL; 26th Nov 2012 at 08:21. Reason: Too many "inlets"
26th Nov 2012, 10:07

Join Date: Nov 2012
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Thanks...Clive...

Okay...the numbers are starting to come together like they should...

I made a math boo-boo in calculating cruise mass flow...but now I get ~177 lb...oh well...that's in the ballpark at least...

It doesn't change the fact that thermal efficiency is well over 50 percent on this engine...something the high bypass fans are only now reaching...although with the smaller mass flow propulsive efficiency would end up at ~75 percent...still pretty good...I put overall efficiency right at 40 percent...again where the top airliners are at today...

What do you think about a bigger mass flow and lower jet velocity to increase propulsive efficiency...?...I will try sending you a PM...any data you can provide would be most appreciated...

Regards,

Gordon.

PS: I had to smile at your comment about all this drag and thrust stuff being important only to the structure guys...I'm sure you meant no slight...and it is a fact of course that their role is very much secondary...but it is a bit funny nonetheless...I'm sure they would point out very earnestly that if they did not do their job...that a lot of those carefully designed engine bits would come flying off the airplane long before it ever reached Mach 2...
26th Nov 2012, 12:33

Join Date: Jan 2008
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Gornaut, I agree that the maths are straightforward . But I also agree that it can be somewhat unhelpful without some intuitive understanding of what is being described. I did find your diagram very helpful as to what the point of the calculations were.

I went back and reread post #5 which does indeed explain it very well. In light of that explanation (and CliveL's remark "nobody apart from the engine stressmen cares a stuff about those distinctions"), isn't the phrase "produced by" a little misleading. I can understand that 63% of the thrust is transferred to the aircraft through the inlet duct. But, couldn't I just as easily calculate and say that (obviously I'm making this up): 23% of the thrust is transferred through attachment bolt A, 15% through attachment bolt B, and 25% through attachment bolt C. I don't see where I would ever say that 23% of the thrust was produced by attachment bolt A.

This discussion (which is fascinating!), sort of reminds me of the story of the man who upgraded his car with: a carburetor that claimed fuel savings of 40%, spark plugs which saved 30%, tires that saved 30%, and an exhaust which saved 20%. He had to stop every few miles and drain his fuel tank.
26th Nov 2012, 14:09

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Goarnaut
My remark wasn't meant to denigrate anybody's work, and with hindsight I can see that the same criticism of my words could be applied to all those people who struggle to improve the efficiency of all the component parts of an engine. They all care very much.
What I really meant to say was that people OUTSIDE the engine companies don't really care about the fine distinctions.

Crabman
I can understand that 63% of the thrust is transferred to the aircraft through the inlet duct
That was exactly the message I was trying to convey

Last edited by CliveL; 26th Nov 2012 at 14:12.
26th Nov 2012, 18:26

Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 171
Brilliant conversation!

I've got to say that the numbers and physics can be brain-numbing. And this just emphasises the achievement of all those brown-overalled slide-rule operators who didn't let common sense get in the way, and made an airliner do Mach 2, and go from London to New York in under three and a half hours whilst burning about the same amount of fuel as a 747-2.

The Blackbird was a phenomenal achievement, a magnificent aircraft, but to achieve supersonic flight with an airliner, using more restrictive legislation (TSS) than existed for blunties at the time was nothing short of miraculous. Our equivalent of the Apollo programme.

But as a simple pilot who lived under those brown overall coat-tails (and was bloody luck to do so), <<without the use of reheat and with staggeringly low fuel flow values>> brought back to mind one of my most treasured memories of the experience (apart from those nights in pubs around Filton):

You plugged in reheat (the proper name for afterburners) at 0.95. She climbed at Vmo. M 1.0 went past without a gin & tonic spilt down the back. The ramps dropped at (from memory - Dude?) M1.3. But the real cool bit was at M1.7. You had a burn of about 12000 KGS/HR per engine. You cut the reheat. The fuel flow dropped to about half that - 6 tonnes per hour / engine. She didn't drop out the sky. She just carried on reaching - at FL500 hitting M2.0 - and just did what the designers intended - cover distance at about 20 nms/min. No fuss. No reheat. Day in - day out.

I suppose that's the practical experience of this thread's title.

Brilliance. Pure, original physics and engineering brilliance.

Hey ho.
26th Nov 2012, 19:19

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goanaut, any chance you could resize that image at post 119 please. It's doing my head in just trying to follow the maths never mind scrolling back and forth at the same time.

Thanks again to all the contributors.
26th Nov 2012, 21:16

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Europe
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Great to Hear Pilot Perspective

NW1...it's good to hear from you...your numbers fill in some blanks...How long did it take to reach cruise altitude...?...

Crabman...the inlet is not transferring the thrust force from the engine to the airframe...that's the job of the engine pylon...the inlet is actually making thrust...think it through logically...the engine adds momentum to the mass flow and hurls it out the back with greater force than it came in...the engine is hurled forward as a reaction...momentum is conserved...

Now why don't we put that same kind of nozzle on the front of the engine instead of a diffuser...?...the flow would likewise speed up increasing the momentum going INTO the engine...but what would happen...?...how would the engine react...?...if the flow going OUT is speeded up and the engine moves forward...then logically if the flow coming in is speeded up then the engine will move backwards...we get drag...not thrust...

That is why you don't see a nozzle on the front of the engine...so continuing in this logic...if the flow COMING IN is now slowed down...what happens...?...how does it all balance out...?...remember momentum must be conserved...where does it go...it can only be forward or back...there are no other choices...

Turin...you can decrease your browser resolution by simultaneously pressing ctrl and minus keys...

Last edited by goarnaut; 26th Nov 2012 at 21:19.
27th Nov 2012, 14:15

Join Date: Jan 2008
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goarnaut:

the engine adds momentum to the mass flow and hurls it out the back with greater force than it came in...the engine is hurled forward as a reaction...momentum is conserved...
That much, at least, my simple mind understands. That is how I always viewed the situation. That is the way I'll need to continue viewing the situation.

the inlet is actually making thrust
This is the wording that I find confusing. I can understand that some (most) of the thrust is being "actualized", "transferred", or [... fill in another word..] due to momentum changes in the airflow which are occurring in the inlet duct which are transferred to the walls of the inlet duct (and/or passed along with the airflow to the next stage), which are transferred to the engine structure which are transferred to the craft through the engine pylon. I also can understand that this (plus and minus changes to the momentum of the airflow) is occurring all through the engine.

My problem is this. From the point of view of the aircraft, all the thrust is coming from the pylon. I still think it would be an odd usage to say that the engine pylon is "actually making thrust".

I'll bow out now and continue reading this thread. I don't want to appear obstinate or argumentative. Many thanks to you and CliveL (and also to M2Dude who earlier attempted to explain this).
27th Nov 2012, 15:21

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Crabman

My problem is this. From the point of view of the aircraft, all the thrust is coming from the pylon. I still think it would be an odd usage to say that the engine pylon is "actually making thrust".
I see where you are coming from, but Concorde didn't have a pylon. On subsonic aircraft all the powerplant loads are transmitted to the airframe via the pylon as you say. But the Concorde powerplant had three distinct components, the intakes, the engines and the secondary nozzles, and all three were attached to the airframe separately.
I tried, and failed, to find a suitable illustration.
Since the components are individually attached, it seems not extraordinary to think about how the powerplant forces are shared between them. This is why people talk about the thrust transmitted through the intake attachments. That, for me, is not saying that the intake makes thrust - it just carries its share of the powerplant forces.

Last edited by CliveL; 27th Nov 2012 at 15:36.
27th Nov 2012, 17:50

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Clive,
Belated thanks for the shockwave explanation. Inevitably I must spend time with the basics.

Gordon,

I always thought the intake momentum drag was one of the costs of bringing the air aboard. Hence the appearance of flt velocity in the expression.
However, since the air never slows down beyond about M0.5 at the engine face the air is never brought to rest relative to the aircraft. Does this mean that the momentum drag is really a function of axial vel at compressor entry also?
Have I gone off the rails here or is it something to do with airframe, ie inlet, and engine accounting?
27th Nov 2012, 17:59

Join Date: Nov 2012
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Crabman...maybe the word thrust is making it hard for you...

If you prefer... think of the inlet making a forward force...that's all it is...and that force is very real..the mechanism of it is that the diverging duct shape decreases flow speed and increases pressure...that increased pressure yields a forward force...after all force is pressure time area...

Since the outlet of a diverging duct has a bigger area than the inlet...and since the pressure is also increased...the result has to be a force pointing forward...there can be no other outcome in the physical world in which we live...

A converging duct...nozzle...is the opposite...I think you have stumbled on that “transferring” thrust part...that wording is unhelpful and does not actually have any place in this explanation...there is no transferring going on...the forward force is made right there in the duct...

Now of course it is true that the duct by itself cannot move the airplane forward...we need the entire engine and all of its bits...but the same is true for any other component...the gas generator without the nozzle will make no thrust...

So the bottom line is that if we look at the engine component by component...each of them makes either thrust or drag...doesn't change the fact that we still need each and every one of them...

I just pulled a good engine book off my shelf and looked this up...Aircraft Propulsion by Farokhi...Fluid Impulse is covered in chapter 2 and there is a whole section on it...with worked examples for each engine component...the inlet...compressor...burner...turbine and nozzle...there is a drawing that shows which components are making thrust and which ones drag...the inlet...compressor and burner all make thrust...while the turbine and nozzle make drag...

Now I agree with Clive that this is not hugely important to break things down in this way...but it is the physical reality and we must appreciate that...

As far as the Concorde inlet is concerned the goal was to have good aerodynamic performance...a diffuser is a difficult item...the flow is moving from low pressure to high pressure...an adverse pressure gradient...going uphill if you like...which can cause flow separation and the resulting turbulence eats up energy that we wish to recover as pressure...

So those were the design goals...I'm sure Clive and the team spent zero time thinking about how much “thrust” was going to be made in the inlet...that part we have no control over...it is just the way it works out if we do a proper job in recovering as much pressure as possible...

My aim here was just to shed a little light on this because it is fascinating...like many physical phenomena...it is another example that there is nothing for free in nature...when the air flow going at M2 gives up its momentum...it is the engine that gains...similarly if we inject cold fuel into a hot combustion chamber the fuel heats up and vaporizes...but the surrounding air loses the exact same amount of heat that the fuel gained...and the air temperature goes down...it is always a 2-way street...the action reaction thing...

I hope I have been able to help a little...if you still want to keep working through it I am certainly willing to help...

Regards,

Gordon.

.

Last edited by goarnaut; 27th Nov 2012 at 19:04.
27th Nov 2012, 18:10

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Turin...you can decrease your browser resolution by simultaneously pressing ctrl and minus keys...
Yes, I appreciate that but then all the text gets reduced and my eyes are not what they used to be.
27th Nov 2012, 18:12

Join Date: Nov 2012
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And just one more thought...

Clive mentioned that the engine structural designers were probably the only ones calculating the component thrust and drag...you can be sure that is the very first thing they did...

In order to keep the engine together you have to know how much force is pulling in what direction...think about the burner and turbine interface...the burner is attached to the compressor...which is attached to the inlet duct...all of which are pulling forward with great force...and then you have the turbine making a drag force and pulling in the opposite direction...how strong do you make those bolts that hold things together...?...

So this stuff is more than just a curiosity...it is very real and that engine would have flown apart on the test stand if someone did not calculate all this in advance...

Regards,

Gordon.
27th Nov 2012, 18:47

Join Date: Nov 2012
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Peter...now you are mixing and matching accounting methods...

Yes...ram drag is what we subtract from the gross thrust...ram drag is freestream speed (aircraft speed) times mass flow...so that is why thrust = mass flow * (jetpipe exit speed – freestream speed)...

However...if we want to do a control volume analysis of the engine...then we do it as mentioned...btw we can also do the whole engine as a single control volume and we will get the thrust the exact same way as I did for the inlet duct...using the same math...

And again it helps to make a sketch...we see from such a sketch that we can again use the impulse method to calculate thrust...

Let's say again we have a mass flow of 100 kg/s...and an inlet area of 1 m^2...at the nozzle the area is 0.5 m^2 and the pressure is let's say 2 times the atmospheric pressure...the speed of the jepipe exit is 500 m/s...the aircraft is flying at 250 m/s...~M8 at FL 350...

The simple formula for thrust is mass flow times jetpipe velocity...minus ram drag which is mass flow times freestream V...so our ram drag is 25,000 N...and our “gross” thrust is 50,000 N...from which we subtract ram drag of 25,000 N and we have net thrust of 25 kN...

We can get the same result if we now do a control volume analysis and take into account the pressure times area at the front inlet and aft nozzle respectively...the atmospheric pressure is 22.5 kN/m^2 so the front pressure pushing the engine 22.5 kN/m^2 * 1 m^2 inlet area = 22.5 kN...

The nozzle pressure is double...but the area is smaller by half...so it is a wash...we then take our inlet momentum (ram drag) and our exit momentum and we find that we have 25 kN thrust...

We could do this control volume thing for each component and still will get the same net thrust at the end...

The important thing is not to mix and match ideas...pick one bookkeeping method and stick with it...

Regards,

Gordon.

PS: being an Ontarian myself...I'm curious if you are related to the TV newsman of the same name...?

27th Nov 2012, 18:51

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Turin, Here is a smaller version

27th Nov 2012, 18:54

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Peter,

Have I gone off the rails here or is it something to do with airframe, ie inlet, and engine accounting?
It's just the accounting. Normally to calculate thrust one takes the momentum change from freestream conditions (ahead of the intake) to the exit conditions just behind the jet pipe nozzle or fan. Between those two 'stations' the momentum is fluctuating as the flow goes through intake diffuser/compressor stages/ combustion chambers etc. Momentum drag is calculated from that initial state ahead of the powerplant.
27th Nov 2012, 23:11

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Hello, Sir.

How far in front of the intake is freestream?
27th Nov 2012, 23:13

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No relation Gordan. I've disappointed a few people tho'(dentist,etc)
28th Nov 2012, 01:35

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goarnaut and CliveL, you two gentlemen seem to have the background to be able to answer this question. Many assert that airflow through a turbine engine may reach and/or exceed sonic conditions with respect to the rotating components. I would have thought that unlikely, what with shock waves bouncing around inside the rotating bits. Would it be safe to assume that the temperature rise as the air passes through keeps the airflow subsonic?

Many Thanks.

Last edited by Brian Abraham; 28th Nov 2012 at 01:38.