US20180156134A1 - Gear system architecture for gas turbine engine - Google Patents

Gear system architecture for gas turbine engine Download PDF

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Publication number
US20180156134A1
US20180156134A1 US15/872,111 US201815872111A US2018156134A1 US 20180156134 A1 US20180156134 A1 US 20180156134A1 US 201815872111 A US201815872111 A US 201815872111A US 2018156134 A1 US2018156134 A1 US 2018156134A1
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Prior art keywords
fan
gas turbine
gear
turbine engine
fan drive
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US15/872,111
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William G. Sheridan
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Raytheon Technologies Corp
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United Technologies Corp
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Priority to US201261653731P priority Critical
Priority to US13/557,614 priority patent/US8572943B1/en
Priority to PCT/US2013/041761 priority patent/WO2014028085A2/en
Priority to US14/190,159 priority patent/US10221770B2/en
First worldwide family litigation filed litigation Critical https://patents.darts-ip.com/?family=49487663&utm_source=google_patent&utm_medium=platform_link&utm_campaign=public_patent_search&patent=US20180156134(A1) "Global patent litigation dataset” by Darts-ip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Application filed by United Technologies Corp filed Critical United Technologies Corp
Priority to US15/872,111 priority patent/US20180156134A1/en
Publication of US20180156134A1 publication Critical patent/US20180156134A1/en
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02CGAS-TURBINE PLANTS; AIR INTAKES FOR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS; CONTROLLING FUEL SUPPLY IN AIR-BREATHING JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02C7/00Features, components parts, details or accessories, not provided for in, or of interest apart form groups F02C1/00 - F02C6/00; Air intakes for jet-propulsion plants
    • F02C7/36Power transmission arrangements between the different shafts of the gas turbine plant, or between the gas-turbine plant and the power user
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F01MACHINES OR ENGINES IN GENERAL; ENGINE PLANTS IN GENERAL; STEAM ENGINES
    • F01DNON-POSITIVE DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, e.g. STEAM TURBINES
    • F01D25/00Component parts, details, or accessories, not provided for in, or of interest apart from, other groups
    • F01D25/18Lubricating arrangements
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02CGAS-TURBINE PLANTS; AIR INTAKES FOR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS; CONTROLLING FUEL SUPPLY IN AIR-BREATHING JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02C3/00Gas-turbine plants characterised by the use of combustion products as the working fluid
    • F02C3/04Gas-turbine plants characterised by the use of combustion products as the working fluid having a turbine driving a compressor
    • F02C3/107Gas-turbine plants characterised by the use of combustion products as the working fluid having a turbine driving a compressor with two or more rotors connected by power transmission
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02CGAS-TURBINE PLANTS; AIR INTAKES FOR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS; CONTROLLING FUEL SUPPLY IN AIR-BREATHING JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02C7/00Features, components parts, details or accessories, not provided for in, or of interest apart form groups F02C1/00 - F02C6/00; Air intakes for jet-propulsion plants
    • F02C7/06Arrangements of bearings; Lubricating
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02CGAS-TURBINE PLANTS; AIR INTAKES FOR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS; CONTROLLING FUEL SUPPLY IN AIR-BREATHING JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02C9/00Controlling gas-turbine plants; Controlling fuel supply in air- breathing jet-propulsion plants
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F02COMBUSTION ENGINES; HOT-GAS OR COMBUSTION-PRODUCT ENGINE PLANTS
    • F02KJET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F02K3/00Plants including a gas turbine driving a compressor or a ducted fan
    • F02K3/02Plants including a gas turbine driving a compressor or a ducted fan in which part of the working fluid by-passes the turbine and combustion chamber
    • F02K3/04Plants including a gas turbine driving a compressor or a ducted fan in which part of the working fluid by-passes the turbine and combustion chamber the plant including ducted fans, i.e. fans with high volume, low pressure outputs, for augmenting the jet thrust, e.g. of double-flow type
    • F02K3/06Plants including a gas turbine driving a compressor or a ducted fan in which part of the working fluid by-passes the turbine and combustion chamber the plant including ducted fans, i.e. fans with high volume, low pressure outputs, for augmenting the jet thrust, e.g. of double-flow type with front fan
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F05INDEXING SCHEMES RELATING TO ENGINES OR PUMPS IN VARIOUS SUBCLASSES OF CLASSES F01-F04
    • F05DINDEXING SCHEME FOR ASPECTS RELATING TO NON-POSITIVE-DISPLACEMENT MACHINES OR ENGINES, GAS-TURBINES OR JET-PROPULSION PLANTS
    • F05D2260/00Function
    • F05D2260/40Transmission of power
    • F05D2260/403Transmission of power through the shape of the drive components
    • F05D2260/4031Transmission of power through the shape of the drive components as in toothed gearing
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02TCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO TRANSPORTATION
    • Y02T50/00Aeronautics or air transport
    • Y02T50/60Efficient propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/67Relevant aircraft propulsion technologies
    • Y02T50/671Measures to reduce the propulsor weight

Abstract

A disclosed gas turbine engine includes a fan including a plurality of fan blades rotatable about an axis, a bypass duct, a compressor section and a bypass ratio greater than 10. A combustor in fluid communication with the compressor section and a fan drive turbine in communication with the combustor. A gear system provides a speed reduction between the fan drive turbine and the fan and transfer power input from the fan drive turbine to the fan at an efficiency greater than 98%.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 14/190,159, filed Feb. 26, 2014, which is a continuation of International Application No. PCT/US2013/041761 filed May 20, 2013 that claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/653,731 filed May 31, 2012 and U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/557,614 filed Jul. 25, 2012, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,572,943 granted Nov. 5, 2013.
  • BACKGROUND
  • A gas turbine engine typically includes a fan section, a compressor section, a combustor section and a turbine section. Air entering the compressor section is compressed and delivered into the combustion section where it is mixed with fuel and ignited to generate a high-speed exhaust gas flow. The high-speed exhaust gas flow expands through the turbine section to drive the compressor and the fan section. The compressor section typically includes low and high pressure compressors, and the turbine section includes low and high pressure turbines.
  • The high pressure turbine drives the high pressure compressor through an outer shaft to form a high spool, and the low pressure turbine drives the low pressure compressor through an inner shaft to form a low spool. A speed reduction device such as an epicyclical gear assembly may be utilized to drive the fan section such that the fan section may rotate at a speed different than the turbine section so as to increase the overall propulsive efficiency of the engine. The efficiency at which the gear assembly transfers power is a consideration in the development of a gear driven fan. Power or energy not transferred through the gearbox typically results in the generation of heat that is removed with a lubrication system. The more heat generated, the larger and heavier the lubrication system.
  • Although geared architectures can provide improved propulsive efficiency, other factors including heat removal and lubrication can detract from the improved propulsive efficiency. Accordingly, turbine engine manufacturers continue to seek further improvements to engine performance including improvements to thermal, transfer and propulsive efficiencies.
  • SUMMARY
  • A fan drive gear system for a gas turbine engine according to an exemplary embodiment of this disclosure, among other possible things includes a gear system that provides a speed reduction between a fan drive turbine and a fan, a mount flexibly supporting portions of the gear system, and a lubrication system providing lubricant to the gear system and removing thermal energy produced by the gear system, wherein the lubrication system includes a capacity for removing thermal energy equal to less than about 2% of power input into the gear system.
  • In a further embodiment of the foregoing fan drive gear system, wherein the gear system transfers power input from the fan drive turbine to the fan at an efficiency greater than about 98%.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the lubrication system includes a capacity for removing thermal energy equal to less than about 1% of power input into the gear system.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the lubrication system comprises a main lubrication system providing lubricant flow to the gear system and an auxiliary lubrication system that provides lubricant to the gear system responsive to an interruption of lubricant flow from the main lubrication system.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the mount includes a load limiter for limiting movement of the gear system responsive to an unbalanced condition.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear driven by the fan drive turbine, a non-rotatable carrier, a plurality of star gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of star gears.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the mount includes a first flexible coupling between an input shaft driven by the fan drive turbine and the sun gear, and a second flexible coupling between a fixed structure and the carrier.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear driven by the fan drive turbine, a rotatable carrier, a plurality of planet gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear, and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of planet gears.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing fan drive gear systems, wherein the mount includes a first flexible coupling between an input shaft driven by the fan drive turbine and the sun gear, and a second flexible coupling between a fixed structure and the ring gear.
  • A gas turbine engine according to an exemplary embodiment of this disclosure, among other possible things includes a fan including a plurality of fan blades rotatable about an axis, a compressor section, a combustor in fluid communication with the compressor section, a fan drive turbine in communication with the combustor, a gear system that provides a speed reduction between the fan drive turbine and the fan, the gear system transfers power input from the fan drive turbine to the fan at an efficiency greater than about 98%, a mount flexibly supporting portions of the gear system, and a lubrication system providing lubricant to the gear system and removing thermal energy from the gear system produced by the gear system.
  • In a further embodiment of the foregoing gas turbine engine, wherein the lubrication system includes a capacity for removing thermal energy equal to less than about 2% of power input into the gear system.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the lubrication system includes a capacity for removing thermal energy equal to less than about 1% of power input into the gear system.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the lubrication system comprises a main lubrication system providing lubricant flow to the gear system and an auxiliary lubrication system that provides lubricant to the gear system responsive to an interruption of lubricant flow from the main lubrication system.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear driven by the fan drive turbine, a non-rotatable carrier, a plurality of star gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of star gears and the mount includes a first flexible coupling between an input shaft driven by the fan drive turbine and the sun gear, and a second flexible coupling between a fixed structure and the carrier.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear driven by the fan drive turbine, a rotatable carrier, a plurality of planet gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear, and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of planet gears and the mount includes a first flexible coupling between an input shaft driven by the fan drive turbine and the sun gear, and a second flexible coupling between a fixed structure and the ring gear.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the mount includes a load limiter for limiting movement of the gear system responsive to an unbalanced condition.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein the gear system comprises a gear reduction having a gear ratio greater than about 2.3.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein said fan delivers a portion of air into a bypass duct, and a bypass ratio being defined as the portion of air delivered into the bypass duct divided by the amount of air delivered into the compressor section, with the bypass ratio being greater than about 6.0.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein a fan pressure ratio across the fan is less than about 1.5.
  • In a further embodiment of any of the foregoing gas turbine engines, wherein said fan has 26 or fewer blades.
  • Although the different examples have the specific components shown in the illustrations, embodiments of this invention are not limited to those particular combinations. It is possible to use some of the components or features from one of the examples in combination with features or components from another one of the examples.
  • These and other features disclosed herein can be best understood from the following specification and drawings, the following of which is a brief description.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic view of an example gas turbine engine.
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic view of an example fan drive gear system including star epicyclical geared architecture.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic view of an example fan drive gear system including planetary epicyclical geared architecture.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an example gas turbine engine 20 that includes a fan section 22, a compressor section 24, a combustor section 26 and a turbine section 28. Alternative engines might include an augmenter section (not shown) among other systems or features. The fan section 22 drives air along a bypass flow path B while the compressor section 24 draws air in along a core flow path C where air is compressed and communicated to a combustor section 26. In the combustor section 26, air is mixed with fuel and ignited to generate a high pressure exhaust gas stream that expands through the turbine section 28 where energy is extracted and utilized to drive the fan section 22 and the compressor section 24.
  • Although the disclosed non-limiting embodiment depicts a turbofan gas turbine engine, it should be understood that the concepts described herein are not limited to use with turbofans as the teachings may be applied to other types of turbine engines; for example a turbine engine including a three-spool architecture in which three spools concentrically rotate about a common axis and where a low spool enables a low pressure turbine to drive a fan via a gearbox, an intermediate spool that enables an intermediate pressure turbine to drive a first compressor of the compressor section, and a high spool that enables a high pressure turbine to drive a high pressure compressor of the compressor section.
  • The example engine 20 generally includes a low speed spool 30 and a high speed spool 32 mounted for rotation about an engine central longitudinal axis A relative to an engine static structure 36 via several bearing systems 38. It should be understood that various bearing systems 38 at various locations may alternatively or additionally be provided.
  • The low speed spool 30 generally includes an inner shaft 40 that connects a fan 42 and a low pressure (or first) compressor section 44 to a low pressure (or first) turbine section 46. The inner shaft 40 drives the fan 42 through a speed change device, such as a geared architecture 48, to drive the fan 42 at a lower speed than the low speed spool 30. The high-speed spool 32 includes an outer shaft 50 that interconnects a high pressure (or second) compressor section 52 and a high pressure (or second) turbine section 54. The inner shaft 40 and the outer shaft 50 are concentric and rotate via the bearing systems 38 about the engine central longitudinal axis A.
  • A combustor 56 is arranged between the high pressure compressor 52 and the high pressure turbine 54. In one example, the high pressure turbine 54 includes at least two stages to provide a double stage high pressure turbine 54. In another example, the high pressure turbine 54 includes only a single stage. As used herein, a “high pressure” compressor or turbine experiences a higher pressure than a corresponding “low pressure” compressor or turbine.
  • The example low pressure turbine 46 has a pressure ratio that is greater than about 5. The pressure ratio of the example low pressure turbine 46 is measured prior to an inlet of the low pressure turbine 46 as related to the pressure measured at the outlet of the low pressure turbine 46 prior to an exhaust nozzle.
  • A mid-turbine frame 58 of the engine static structure 36 is arranged generally between the high pressure turbine 54 and the low pressure turbine 46. The mid-turbine frame 58 further supports bearing systems 38 in the turbine section 28 as well as setting airflow entering the low pressure turbine 46.
  • The core airflow C is compressed by the low pressure compressor 44 then by the high pressure compressor 52 mixed with fuel and ignited in the combustor 56 to produce high speed exhaust gases that are then expanded through the high pressure turbine 54 and low pressure turbine 46. The mid-turbine frame 58 includes vanes 60, which are in the core airflow path and function as an inlet guide vane for the low pressure turbine 46. Utilizing the vane 60 of the mid-turbine frame 58 as the inlet guide vane for low pressure turbine 46 decreases the length of the low pressure turbine 46 without increasing the axial length of the mid-turbine frame 58. Reducing or eliminating the number of vanes in the low pressure turbine 46 shortens the axial length of the turbine section 28. Thus, the compactness of the gas turbine engine 20 is increased and a higher power density may be achieved.
  • The disclosed gas turbine engine 20 in one example is a high-bypass geared aircraft engine. In a further example, the gas turbine engine 20 includes a bypass ratio greater than about six (6), with an example embodiment being greater than about ten (10). The example geared architecture 48 is an epicyclical gear train, such as a planetary gear system, star gear system or other known gear system, with a gear reduction ratio of greater than about 2.3.
  • In one disclosed embodiment, the gas turbine engine 20 includes a bypass ratio greater than about ten (10:1) and the fan diameter is significantly larger than an outer diameter of the low pressure compressor 44. It should be understood, however, that the above parameters are only exemplary of one embodiment of a gas turbine engine including a geared architecture and that the present disclosure is applicable to other gas turbine engines.
  • A significant amount of thrust is provided by the bypass flow B due to the high bypass ratio. The fan section 22 of the engine 20 is designed for a particular flight condition—typically cruise at about 0.8 Mach and about 35,000 feet. The flight condition of 0.8 Mach and 35,000 ft., with the engine at its best fuel consumption—also known as “bucket cruise Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption (‘TSFC’)”—is the industry standard parameter of pound-mass (lbm) of fuel per hour being burned divided by pound-force (lbf) of thrust the engine produces at that minimum point.
  • “Low fan pressure ratio” is the pressure ratio across the fan blade alone, without a Fan Exit Guide Vane (“FEGV”) system. The low fan pressure ratio as disclosed herein according to one non-limiting embodiment is less than about 1.50. In another non-limiting embodiment the low fan pressure ratio is less than about 1.45.
  • “Low corrected fan tip speed” is the actual fan tip speed in ft/sec divided by an industry standard temperature correction of [(Tram °R)/518.7)0.5]. The “Low corrected fan tip speed,” as disclosed herein according to one non-limiting embodiment, is less than about 1150 ft/second.
  • The example gas turbine engine includes the fan 42 that comprises in one non-limiting embodiment less than about 26 fan blades. In another non-limiting embodiment, the fan section 22 includes less than about 20 fan blades. Moreover, in one disclosed embodiment the low pressure turbine 46 includes no more than about 6 turbine rotors schematically indicated at 34. In another non-limiting example embodiment the low pressure turbine 46 includes about 3 turbine rotors. A ratio between the number of fan blades 42 and the number of low pressure turbine rotors is between about 3.3 and about 8.6. The example low pressure turbine 46 provides the driving power to rotate the fan section 22 and therefore the relationship between the number of turbine rotors 34 in the low pressure turbine 46 and the number of blades 42 in the fan section 22 disclose an example gas turbine engine 20 with increased power transfer efficiency.
  • The example gas turbine engine includes a lubrication system 98. The lubrication system 98 provides lubricant flow to the rotating components of the gas turbine engine including the bearing assemblies 38 and the geared architecture 48. The lubrication system 98 further provides for the removal of heat generated in the various bearing systems and the geared architecture 48.
  • The example lubrication system 98 includes a main system 80 that provides lubrication during normal operating conditions of the gas turbine engine. An auxiliary system 82 is also included to supplement operation of the main lubrication system 80. The size and weight of the lubrication system 90 is directly related to its capacity for removing heat from the geared architecture 48. The greater the need for removal of heat, the larger and heavier the lubrication system 98 becomes. The amount of heat generated by the geared architecture 48 is therefore an important consideration in the configuration of a fan drive gear system.
  • Referring to FIG. 2 with continued reference to FIG. 1, the example geared architecture 48 is part of a fan drive gear system 70. The example geared architecture 48 comprises a gear assembly 65 that includes a sun gear 62 driven by a fan drive turbine 46. In this example, the fan drive turbine is the low pressure turbine 46. The sun gear 62 in turn drives intermediate gears 64 mounted on a carrier 74 by journal bearings. The carrier 74 is grounded to the static engine structure 36 and therefore the intermediate gears 64 do not orbit about the sun gear 62. The intermediate gears 64 intermesh and drive a ring gear 66 coupled to a fan shaft 68 to drive the fan 42.
  • The gear assembly 65 is flexibly mounted such that it may be isolated from vibrational and transient movement that could disturb alignment between the gears 62, 64 and 66. In this example, flexible mounts 76 support the carrier 74 and accommodate relative movement between the gear assembly 65 and the static structure 36. The example flexible mount 76 includes a spring rate that accommodates deflections that occur during normal operation of the fan drive gear system 70.
  • Power input through the inner shaft 40 of the fan drive turbine 46 is transmitted through a flexible coupling 72. The flexible coupling 72 also includes a spring rate that allows a defined amount of deflection and misalignment such that components of the gear assembly 65 are not driven out of alignment.
  • Although some relative movement is compensated by the flexible coupling 72 and the flexible mounts 76, movement beyond a desired limitation can detrimentally affect meshing engagement between the gears and therefore a load limiting device 78 is provided as part of the gear box mounting structure. The load limiter 78 constrains movement of the gear box 65. The limiter 78 further provides a stop that reacts to unbalanced loads on the gear box 65. Accordingly, the limiter prevents radial unbalanced loads and/or torsional overloads from damaging the gas turbine engine 20.
  • The example fan drive gear system 70 is supported by a lubrication system 98. The lubrication system 98 provides for lubrication and cooling of the gears 62, 64 and 66 along with bearings supporting rotation of the gears. It is desirable to circulate lubricant as quickly as possible to maintain a desired temperature. Power transmission efficiency through the gear box 65 is detrimentally affected by elevated temperatures.
  • In this example, the lubricant system 98 includes a main system 80 that provides the desired lubricant flow through a plurality of conduits schematically illustrated by the line 88 to and from the gear box 65. The main oil system 80 also transmits heat, schematically by arrows 92, away from the gear box 65 to maintain a desired temperature.
  • The lubrication system 98 also includes the auxiliary oil system 82 that supplies oil flow to the gear box 65 in response to a temporary interruption in lubricant flow from the main oil system 80.
  • The efficiency of the example gear box 65 and overall geared architecture 48 is a function of the power input, schematically indicated by arrow 94, through the shaft 40 relative to power output, schematically indicated by arrows 96, to the fan shaft 68. Power input 94 compared to the amount of power output 96 is a measure of gear box efficiency. The example gear box 65 operates at an efficiency of greater than about 98%. In another disclosed example the example gear box 65 operates at an efficiency greater than about 99%.
  • The disclosed efficiency is a measure of the amount of power 94 that is specifically transferred to the fan shaft 68 to rotate the fan 42. Power that is not transmitted through the gear box 65 is lost as heat and reduces the overall efficiency of the fan drive gear system 70. Any deficit between the input power 94 and output power 96 results in the generation of heat. Accordingly, in this example, the deficit of between 1-2% between the input power 94 and output power 96 generates heat. In other words, between 1% and 2% of the input power 94 is converted to heat energy that must be accommodated by the lubrication system 98 to maintain a working lubricant temperature within operational limits.
  • The example lubricant system 98 provides for the removal of thermal energy equal to or less than about 2% of the input power 94 from the low pressure turbine 46. In another non-limiting embodiment of the example fan drive gear system 70, the efficiency of the gear box 65 is greater than about 99% such that only 1% of power input from the low pressure turbine 46 is transferred into heat energy that must be handled by the lubricant system 98.
  • As appreciated, the larger the capacity for handling and removing thermal energy, the larger and heavier the lubricant system 98. In this example, the main oil system includes a heat exchanger 90 that accommodates heat 92 that is generated within the gear box 65. The heat exchanger 90 is an example of one element of the lubrication system 98 that is scaled to the desired capacity for removing thermal energy. As appreciated, other elements, such as for example lubricant pumps, conduit size along with overall lubricant quantity within the lubrication system 98 would also be increased in size and weight to provide increased cooling capacity. Accordingly, it is desirable to increase power transfer efficiency to reduce required overall heat transfer capacity of lubrication system 98.
  • In this example, the high efficiency of the example gear box 65 enables a relatively small and light lubricant system 98. The example lubricant system 98 includes features that can accommodate thermal energy generated by no more than about 2% of the input power 94. In other words, the lubrication system 98 has an overall maximum capacity for removing thermal energy equal to no more than about 2% of the input power provided by the low pressure turbine 46.
  • Greater amounts of capacity for removal of thermal energy results in an overall increase in the size and weight of the lubrication system 98. Lubrication systems that are required to remove greater than about 2% of input power 94 require larger lubricant systems 98 that can detrimentally impact overall engine efficiency and detract from the propulsion efficiencies provided by the reduction in fan speed.
  • Referring to FIG. 3 with continued reference to FIG. 1, another example epicyclical gear box 85 is disclosed and comprises a planetary configuration. In a planetary configuration, planet gears 84 are supported on a carrier 86 that is rotatable about the engine axis A. The sun gear 62 remains driven by the inner shaft 40 and the low pressure turbine 46. The ring gear 66 is mounted to a fixed structure 36 such that it does not rotate about the axis. Accordingly, rotation of the sun gear 62 drives the planet gears 84 within the ring gear 66. The planet gears 84 are supported on the rotatable carrier 86 that in turn drives the fan shaft 68. In this configuration, the fan shaft 68 and the sun gear 62 rotate in a common direction, while the planet gears 84 individually rotate in a direction opposite to the sun gear 62 but collectively rotate about the sun gear 62 in the same direction as the rotation of the sun gear 62.
  • The example planetary gear box illustrated in FIG. 3 includes the ring gear 66 that is supported by flexible mount 76. The flexible mount 76 allows some movement of the gearbox 85 to maintain a desired alignment between meshing teeth of the gears 62, 84, 66. The limiter 78 prevents movement of the planetary gear box 85 beyond desired limits to prevent potential damage caused by radial imbalances and/or torsional loads.
  • The example low pressure turbine 46 inputs power 94 to drive the gear box 85. As in the previous example, the example gear box 85 transmits more than about 98% of the input power 94 to the fan drive shaft 68 as output power 96. In another example, the gear box 85 transmits more than about 99% of the input power 94 to the fan drive shaft 68 as output power 96.
  • The difference between the input power 94 and the output power 96 is converted into heat energy that is removed by the lubrication system 98. In this example, the lubrication system 98 has a capacity of removing no more heat 92 than is generated by about 2% of the input power 94 from the low pressure turbine 46. In another example. The lubrication system 98 has a capacity of removing no more heat 92 than is generated by about 1% of the input power 94. Accordingly, the efficiency provided by the example gear box 85 enables the lubrication system 98 to be of size that does not detract from the propulsive efficiency realized by turning the fan section 22 and low pressure turbine 46 at separate and nearer optimal speeds.
  • Accordingly the example fan drive gear system provides for the improvement and realization of propulsive efficiencies by limiting losses in the form of thermal energy, thereby enabling utilization of a lower capacity and sized lubrication system.
  • Although an example embodiment has been disclosed, a worker of ordinary skill in this art would recognize that certain modifications would come within the scope of this disclosure. For that reason, the following claims should be studied to determine the scope and content of this disclosure.

Claims (30)

What is claimed is:
1. A gas turbine engine comprising:
a fan including a plurality of fan blades rotatable about an axis;
a bypass duct;
a compressor section;
a bypass ratio greater than 10, the bypass ratio being defined as the portion of air delivered into the bypass duct divided by the amount of air delivered into the compressor section;
a combustor in fluid communication with the compressor section;
a fan drive turbine in communication with the combustor;
a gear system providing a speed reduction between the fan drive turbine and the fan and transferring power input from the fan drive turbine to the fan at an efficiency greater than 98%;
a mount flexibly supporting the gear system extending from a static structure of the engine to accommodate radial movement between the gear system and the static structure; and
a lubrication system providing lubricant flow to a plurality of rotating engine components including at least an engine bearing assembly and the gear system, wherein the lubrication system has a maximum capacity for removing thermal energy from the lubricant equal to no more than 2% of power input into the gear system by the fan drive turbine during operation of the engine.
2. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 1, further comprising a second turbine in communication with the combustor, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear, a rotatable carrier, a plurality of planet gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear, and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of planet gears, and wherein the gear system comprises a gear reduction ratio of greater than 2.3.
3. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 2, the fan drive turbine including a plurality of fan drive turbine rotors, wherein the plurality of fan blades is less than twenty (20) and the plurality of fan drive turbine rotors is less than six (6), and a ratio between the number of fan blades and the number of fan drive turbine rotors is between 3.3 and 8.6.
4. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 3, wherein the second turbine is a two stage turbine.
5. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 4, wherein the fan drive turbine is a three stage turbine.
6. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 4, wherein the compressor section has a first compressor and a second compressor, the first compressor is a three stage compressor, and wherein the second turbine drives the second compressor through an outer shaft and an inner shaft connects the fan and the first compressor section to the fan drive turbine.
7. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 4, wherein the compressor section includes a first compressor and a second compressor, the second compressor is an eight stage compressor.
8. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 4, further comprising a low corrected fan tip speed less than about 1150 ft/second, wherein the low corrected fan tip speed is an actual fan tip speed at an ambient temperature divided by [(Tram °R)/(518.7 °R)]0.5, where T represents the ambient temperature in degrees Rankine.
9. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 8, further comprising an input shaft, the fan drive turbine driving the input shaft in operation, and a flexible support structure supporting at least one gear of the gear system relative to the input shaft.
10. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 9, wherein the flexible support structure includes a spring rate that allows a defined amount of deflection and misalignment of the at least one gear.
11. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 10, further comprising a load limiter constraining movement of the gear system in the event of an unbalanced load condition.
12. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 11, wherein the load limiter constrains radial loads and torsional loads within defined limits.
13. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 12, wherein the load limiter includes a stop.
14. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 4, wherein the lubrication system comprises a first lubrication system providing lubricant flow to the rotating engine components, and a second lubrication system that provides lubricant flow to the gear system in response to an interruption in lubricant flow from the first lubrication system.
15. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 1, further comprising a second turbine in communication with the combustor, wherein the gear system comprises a sun gear driven by the fan drive turbine, a non-rotatable carrier, a plurality of intermediate gears supported on the carrier and driven by the sun gear, and a ring gear circumscribing the plurality of intermediate gears, and wherein the gear system comprises a gear reduction ratio of greater than 2.3.
16. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 15, the fan drive turbine including a plurality of fan drive turbine rotors, wherein the plurality of fan blades is less than twenty (20) and the plurality of fan drive turbine rotors is less than six (6) fan drive turbine rotors, and a ratio between the number of fan blades and the number of fan drive turbine rotors is between 3.3 and 8.6.
17. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 16, wherein the second turbine is a two stage turbine.
18. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 17, further comprising a low corrected fan tip speed less than about 1150 ft/second, wherein the low corrected fan tip speed is an actual fan tip speed at an ambient temperature divided by [(Tram °R)/(518.7 °R)]0.5, where T represents the ambient temperature in degrees Rankine.
19. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 18, wherein the mount further comprises a spring rate defined to accommodate deflections occurring during normal operation of the gear system.
20. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 19, wherein the fan drive turbine drives the gear system through a support structure including a spring rate that allows a defined amount of deflection and misalignment among at least some of the plurality of gears of the gear system.
21. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 20, further comprising a load limiter constraining movement of the gear system during an unbalanced load condition.
22. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 16, wherein the lubrication system comprises a first lubrication system providing lubricant flow to the rotating engine components, and a second lubrication system that provides lubricant flow to the gear system in response to an interruption in lubricant flow from the first lubrication system.
23. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 1, wherein the lubrication system comprises a first lubrication system providing lubricant flow to the rotating engine components, and a second lubrication system supplementing operation of the first lubrication system.
24. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 23, wherein the second lubrication system supplies lubricant flow to the gear system in response to an interruption in lubricant flow from the first lubrication system.
25. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 24, wherein the gear system comprises a gear reduction ratio of greater than 2.3, the plurality of fan blades is less than twenty (20) and the fan drive turbine including less than six (6) fan drive turbine rotors, and a ratio between the number of fan blades and the number of fan drive turbine rotors is between 3.3 and 8.6.
26. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 25, wherein the lubrication system has a maximum capacity for removing thermal energy from the lubricant equal to no more than about 1% of power input into the gear system by the fan drive turbine during operation of the engine.
27. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 1, further comprising a bypass ratio greater than ten (10), the bypass ratio being defined as the portion of air delivered into a bypass duct divided by the amount of air delivered into the compressor section.
28. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 27, further comprising an input shaft arranged in a driving relationship to the fan drive turbine, a flexible support structure supporting at least one gear of the gear system relative to the input shaft, including a spring rate that allows a defined amount of deflection and misalignment of the at least one gear.
29. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 28, further comprising a load limiter constraining movement of the gear system beyond a defined amount during an unbalanced load condition.
30. The gas turbine engine recited in claim 29, further comprising a low corrected fan tip speed less than about 1150 ft/second, wherein the low corrected fan tip speed is an actual fan tip speed at an ambient temperature divided by [(Tram °R)/(518.7 °R)]0.5, where T represents the ambient temperature in degrees Rankine, and wherein the gear system comprises a gear reduction ratio of greater than 2.3, the plurality of fan blades is less than twenty (20) and the plurality of fan drive turbine rotors is less than six (6) fan drive turbine rotors, and a ratio between the number of fan blades and the number of fan drive turbine rotors is between 3.3 and 8.6.
US15/872,111 2012-05-31 2018-01-16 Gear system architecture for gas turbine engine Abandoned US20180156134A1 (en)

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US14/190,159 US10221770B2 (en) 2012-05-31 2014-02-26 Fundamental gear system architecture
US15/872,111 US20180156134A1 (en) 2012-05-31 2018-01-16 Gear system architecture for gas turbine engine

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