After 107 running hours, 500 test cycles and 30 starts on MTU Aero Engines’ development test stand, the SAGE 4 Clean Sky engine demonstrator has provided proof of the technological readiness of the project.
MTU’s experts are extremely pleased with the result. “We’ve tested numerous new technologies, and many of them have been shown to be mature. Some of the hardware has reached the point of being ready to fly,” said Dr Jörg Henne, senior vice president engineering and technology at MTU.
SAGE 4, (Sustainable and Green Engines), is the name of one of five Clean Sky engine demonstrators. With more than 600 research partners involved, Clean Sky is the largest ever EU-funded aeronautics research program.
“SAGE 4 is based on the PW1500G geared turbofan engine approved by Pratt & Whitney, which we equipped with cutting-edge compressor and turbine technology,” explained Dr Stefan Weber, senior vice president technology and engineering advanced programs at MTU in Munich, Germany. “We’ve developed these innovations in a joint effort with European partners.”
“The test program, which included stress, vibration and rub-in tests as well as endurance runs, was very challenging,” said Dr Joachim Wulf, chief engineer – technology demonstrators.
During some of the tests, the engine demonstrator was subjected to loads far above the normal mechanical and thermal operating limits. Use was also made of advanced simulation methods and measurement techniques. Everything went exactly according to plan. The novel materials, constructions and designs will directly be used on the next generation of geared turbofans to further improve their eco-efficiency.
“We’re talking here about engines powering aircraft that could fly sometime within the next decade,” said Dr Henne.
As part of its Clean Sky research activities, MTU is focusing its efforts on the development of innovative technologies for its two core components, the high-pressure compressor and the low-pressure turbine. Among the work performed on the low-pressure turbine was the development and testing of a new air system for the casing and a new damping system for the first rotor stage.
The SAGE 4 demonstrator – which was built last year and made up of the low-pressure turbine made by MTU, the turbine exit case made by British-Swedish GKN Aerospace, and the shaft and bearing chamber made by Pratt & Whitney – was assembled and integrated into a PurePower PW1500G geared turbofan engine. At the end of 2015, the engine demonstrator was mounted on the testbed in Munich and put through its paces for several weeks.
November 2, 2016