The multi-stage intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) is a key enabler of the thermodynamic cycle in geared turbofan engine architectures, where fan and turbine rotational speeds become decoupled by employing a power gearbox between them. This allows for the separate aerodynamic optimization of both components, an increase in engine bypass ratios, higher propulsive efficiency, and lower specific fuel consumption. Due to significant aerodynamic differences with conventional low pressure turbines (LPTs), multi-stage IPT designs present new aerodynamic, mechanical and acoustic trade-offs. This work describes the aerodynamic design and experimental validation of a fully featured three-stage IP turbine, including a final row of outlet guide vanes.

Experiments have been conducted in a highly engine-representative transonic rotating wind tunnel at the CTA (Centro de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas, Spain), in which Mach and Reynolds numbers were matched to engine conditions. The design intent is shown to be fully validated. Efficiency levels are discussed in the context of a previous state-of-the-art LPT, tested in the same facility. It is argued that the efficiency gains of IPTs are due to higher pitch-to-chord ratios, which lead to a reduction in overall profile losses, and higher velocity ratios and lower turning angles, which reduce airfoil secondary flows and three-dimensional losses.

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