Boeing, European companies team on open-fan investigations
Boeing, Rolls-Royce, RUAG Aerospace and Deharde Maschinenbau have entered into a collaborative research agreement to explore the potential of fuel-efficient open-fan (open rotor) propulsion technology for future commercial airplanes.
Using technologies and techniques contributed by each of the parties, tests of a model concept airplane with open-fan engines are planned for early in 2010 at the RUAG Low Speed Wind Tunnel in Emmen, Switzerland. A unique propulsion and measurement system is to be integrated into the model.
“Open-fan propulsion technology has potential for reducing specific fuel consumption significantly below current turbofans,” said Michael Friend, Boeing director of Technology in Germany. “While Boeing has made no decisions as to the type of propulsion system or propulsion supplier for any potential future commercial airplane, this investigation will help us to better understand the interaction of openfan propulsion with a candidate airframe concept, and how much fuel savings might be possible.”
As a global leader in technology, Rolls-Royce is providing propulsion design expertise from facilities in the UK and Germany, while Boeing is designing the integrated wind tunnel model airframe. The wind tunnel model will be manufactured by Deharde Maschinenbau of Varel, Germany. The model will utilize RUAG expertise in Counter-Rotating Open Rotor engine simulation.