In the development of an aero-engine combustor, the definition of a preliminary design is a practice in which know-how, product experience and design rules are focal in deriving a configuration able to meet the functional requirements. Several configurations, and hence multiple geometries resulting in different behaviours, are iteratively analysed in this phase to extensively explore the design space. In this context, an automated procedure ranging from preliminary design to life estimation is necessary and crucial. A framework in which the tools employed in the design workflow are integrated and the low-added-value tasks are automated can allow the reduction of time per analysis within the loop and the enhancement of the procedure’s robustness.

In this paper will be presented the Combustor Design System Integration (DSI), a methodology aimed at easing and streamlining the design process of aero-engine combustors. To do this, digitization has been taken as the common thread for developing a data-centric approach. The logic behind the procedure will be reported, to focus then on the aero-thermal preliminary design. The procedure, for this phase, is composed of three main integrated components: a CAD generation system, which collects all the geometries for creating an exportable 3D model, a 1D thermal solver for the positioning and sizing of the aero feature on liners (i.e. cooling, dilution...) and a CFD environment with automated pre/post processing operations for reacting-flow analysis.

The aim of this work is to contextualize the DSI approach in the combustor design process and to provide a first description of the methodology designed and developed in GE Avio. For that purpose, a straight-through configuration — the lean combustor NEWAC developed in the homonymous EU project — will be exploited as a test case. The development of the procedure is still in progress, so a validation through test cell data comparison, as well as highly-resolved CFD results, will be the subject for future papers.

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