Airbus explores options to ramp-up next-generation propulsive efficiency.

Some rather funky patent applications have published in recent weeks that reveal alternative gas turbine engine architecture and mounting concepts.

In the ongoing drive to increase propulsive efficiency, perhaps the most obvious solution is to increase the engine fan diameter, but of course there are physical limits involved when engines are mounted underneath the wing. Unless you turn the landing gear into stilts, then you'll have to find another way.

And that's exactly what several leading aerospace companies are doing. Today we bring you this intriguing concept from Airbus for a multi-fan aero-engine that comprises a gas turbine, an engine casing and multiple fans which are encased and connected to each other by geared rings, such that the rotation of one fan drives the others.

The engine could be located beneath a wing but I rather like the above alternative for flush-mounting to the fuselage. This, according to Airbus, captures a significant portion of the airstream boundary layer flowing over the aircraft skin, thereby increasing propulsive efficiency.

Ok, so the idea is a little 'out there', and there remains the question of what happens in the event of uncontained blade failure, not to mention the vibration and noise for passengers seated alongside. Ultimately this may be unlikely to go into production, but it's good to see engineers thinking outside the box and pushing the limits.

A great start to the week - Happy Monday!

Patent applicant: AIRBUS
Patent published: 17 MAR 2016
Patent application number: US2016076444

Select the patent application number above to view the original document.

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