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If you've ever felt frustrated while staring at a little spinning pinwheel while a computer finishes a task, try waiting for six weeks.
That's the situation aeronautical engineers often find themselves in when designing new turbine. With multiple fan blades spinning thousands of times per minute and air flows moving faster than the speed of sound, accurately modeling the complex machine is a daunting challenge.
Aircraft - Use - Turbine - Engines - Percent
Virtually all commercial aircraft use turbine engines and 90 percent of the world's electricity is produced by turbines. In the early 1990s, the world's leading turbine manufacturers, U. S. Air Force and NASA came together with academic experts and a software company to form the GUIde Consortium to address the "grand challenges" in turbomachinery aeromechanics. Now in its sixth iteration, the program works to cut the time the pinwheel spins from weeks to days at the same time increasing the simulation's accuracy.
"The GUIde Consortium funds pre-competitive research to meet the needs for the design methods of it's members," said Robert Kielb, director of the GUIde Consortium and professor of the practice of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, which has served as the program's leading institution since 2008. "For the past six years, we've focused on forced response of an embedded compressor, which dictates how interacting pressure waves force a turbojet's fan blades to vibrate."
Vibrations - Safety - Cost - Issue - Blades
These vibrations are both a safety and a cost issue. If the blades vibrate too much, they can be damaged over time and require costly maintenance. Or worse, they can break and cause engine failure.
Turbojet engineering companies each have their own in-house software to design new engines, but they rely on research conducted by the GUIde Consortium to make sure their software is accurate. They also purchase packages and programs from ANSYS, the one software company in the GUIde Consortium, which...
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