|High fidelity model of the flow from an aircraft engine exhaust nozzle showing the complex interactions of the high velocity jets, which generate acoustic waves. Photo: GE Global Research
[Avionics Today 06-11-2015] Scientists at GE Global Research want to help enable future supersonic air travel by addressing existing challenges around engine noise. Global Research will explore new methods for reducing jet engine noise during takeoffs and landings of supersonic aircraft as part of a research project with NASA. While many view achieving an acceptable sonic boom level as the key barrier to future supersonic overland flight, noise around airports during takeoff and landing of high-speed aircraft would also be a challenge. Reducing noise is one of the research priorities of NASA’s vision to develop commercially viable supersonic transportation.
With the retirement of the Concorde in 2003, supersonic air travel has ceased to exist in the commercial air transportation industry. Supersonic speeds exceed the speed of sound at cruising altitudes, which is approximately 660 mph. Aircraft like the Concorde were capable of flying at twice the speed of sound while, today, a typical subsonic commercial flight at cruising altitudes flies in the 500-600 mph range. The primary sources of aircraft noise affecting communities around airports are the engine and the aerodynamics of the aircraft itself as it flies through the air. As part of this research project, GE scientists will build upon past work with NASA and Lockheed Martin and focus on optimizing engine integration with the aircraft in addition to technologies to reduce fan and jet noise from the engine itself.
According to Kishore Ramakrishnan, principal investigator on the NASA program and member of the Aerodynamics and Acoustics Lab at GE Global Research, GE is also teaming with Lockheed Martin to understand the impact of these concepts on overall aircraft performance and sonic boom characteristics.