An evaluation of the potential of additive manufacturing technologies in future aero engine design

David Rockel, Andreas Hupfer, Hans Peter Kau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


An evaluation of additive manufacturing technologies in future aero engine design is carried out using the compressor of an engine. Parts in a compressor are identified which have the potential of increasing the performance of the engine if redesigned with the design freedom of additive manufacturing. Typical problems in compressor design as the necessity of weight reduction or integrating new function into existing components to further increase the performance of the engine are addressed. Concepts of redesigned parts in the compressor are developed and further investigated on their potential to further improve the current engine design. The studies are carried out using commercial FEM-tools. In the first concept which is briefly covered in this paper a hollow compressor blade is investigated. A cavity is inserted into a rotor blade with the purpose of decreasing the weight of the blade and to manipulate the Eigen modes of the blade. The geometry and the position of the cavity is varied in order to find a solution for both weight saving and Eigen mode alteration. Further structures in the blade are used to influence the Eigen modes of the blade specifically in a certain range. In the second concept auxetic structures are inserted into a double-walled compressor casing. The focus of this concept is on the tip clearance behavior of the casing. Since the rotor disc design is determined by strength requirements the tip clearance has to be set by the casing. The geometrical parameters of the auxetic structure is investigated with the purpose of developing a passive tip clearance control system. Elements which influence the radial expansion of the casing are identified with the aim of generating a modular system for future compressor casing developments. So the casing elements are adaptable to the radial expansion of a certain rotor. An improved tip clearance behaviour in relevant operating points is achieved. In the last concept a casing with casing treatments is redesigned with the focus of improving the mechanical behaviour of the casing mainly the thermal behaviour and the vibrational behaviour of the casing treatment itself. This paper presents concepts for future aero engine design using the freedom in design offered by additive manufacturing technologies. The focus of this paper is on the evaluation of the potential of additive manufacturing technologies on future aero engine design. The advantages for the overall engine performance as well as identified challenges are also discussed using the mentioned design examples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint PropulsionConference
StatePublished - 2013
Event49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint PropulsionConference - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 14 Jul 201317 Jul 2013

Publication series

Name49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference


Conference49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint PropulsionConference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


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