Compressor Development for Exoskeletal Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) Engine | Summary and Q&A

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January 4, 2022
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NASA STEM
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Compressor Development for Exoskeletal Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) Engine

TL;DR

NASA is researching low-cost alternatives for space access, including the use of an all-composite and ceramic exoskeletal engine design that eliminates heavier metallic turbomachinery found in jet engines.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does NASA's exoskeletal engine design differ from conventional jet engines?

The exoskeletal engine design replaces heavy metallic turbomachinery with lighter all-composite and ceramic components, reducing weight and increasing blade life. It uses rotating casings to support the blades in spanwise compression, eliminating stresses on components.

Q: What are the potential applications for the exoskeletal engine design?

The exoskeletal engine design is suitable for small unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile power generators, and supersonic/hypersonic applications. Its reduced weight and small parts count make it ideal for these applications.

Q: What are the key design considerations for the compressor development architecture?

The key design considerations include the use of high-temperature ceramic-matrix composites and single-crystal superalloys, continuous-fiber metal-matrix composites, a 3D-printed exoskeletal compressor development architecture, and the utilization of existing magnetic bearings.

Q: What is the objective of NASA's Exoskeletal Engine Design Challenge?

The objective of the challenge is for teams of undergraduate students to synthesize a compressor development architecture where the rotating blades are in compression rather than tension. NASA Glenn will provide the geometry of the compressor blades.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • NASA Glenn Research Center is researching low-cost alternatives for access to space and high Mach number propulsion.

  • The exoskeletal engine design replaces conventional metallic turbomachinery in jet engines with all-composite and ceramic components.

  • The design eliminates stresses on components, increases blade life, and is ideal for powering small unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile power generators, and supersonic/hypersonic applications.

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