The proposed work advances the NASA Aeronautics program goal of reduced fuel burn by increasing aerodynamic efficiency due to shrouding HPT rotor blades. Reducing fuel burn, and the consequent reduction of CO2 emissions, is a goal of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation(ERA) component of the NASA Aeronautics program. The feasibility of shrouding HPT rotor blades is advanced by using Ceramic Matrix Composite(CMC) materials due to their lower density compared to conventional metallic materials. The structural analysis of CMC blades and shrouds differs from the analysis of conventional HPT materials because of the directionally dependent properties of CMC materials. CMC have a wide range of applications in gas turbines. N&R Engineering will provide NASA with analysis and design expertise for CMC components. The analysis of the benefits of to fuel burn reduction from improvements in component efficiency and/or reduced coolant requirements is an additional capability for commercialization.
All gas turbine engines are expected to have reduced HPT blade aspect ratios because higher specific work is a consequence of higher efficiency. Military engines with the higher thrust-to-weight requirement have an additional incentive to reduce blade aspect ratio. Ground power gas turbines also have a strong incentive to improve HPT efficiency. Increasing rotor blade aerodynamic efficiency and increasing temperature capability is a route to reducing fuel consumption. N&R Engineering will offer design and analysis capability for CMC and conventional materials to gas turbine manufacturers and customers. Shrouded CMC blades may be costly to fabricate, and manufacturers may offer shrouded blades as an option.