Engine fan blade-off (FBO) is an extreme event that could well place the flight safety at risk. When it happens, the engine will experience high-velocity impact at first, and then enter into a “high-power” stage due to huge unbalance before coming to a steady state called “windmilling”. The analytical process for FBO can be split into two phases, one for impact simulation and the other for obtaining the FBO load to pylon. Typically, explicit method with fine mesh finite elements is used in the first phase, and implicit method with coarse meshes is adopted in the second one. In most cases, the only connection between these two analyses may be the unbalance level caused by FBO. More structural responses other than the unbalance level due to fan blade impact are actually ignored in the succeeding implicit analysis. Attempts have been made by Boeing, GE and MSC to integrate these two processes by adding some features in MD Nastran. Yet the intermediate binary files created and the restricted input entries make the integration process quite inflexible.

This paper introduces an explicit-implicit time integration approach for finite element analysis of engine load following an FBO event. The proposed method attempts to connect the two stages more closely, yet in a more flexible manner. In this approach, the engine structural response under FBO obtained from explicit analysis is transferred to the implicit analysis, together with the unbalance level caused by blade loss. The necessity of the approach is discussed, and sensitivity analysis is conducted to understand the factors that play significant roles in the approach. As the models for explicit and implicit analyses are different in mesh sizes and scales, the authors also develop a tool that can interpolate the load information and further, smooth it to fit calculation. Finally, the approach is tested on a full engine model to show its applicability and advantages over the traditional method for load evaluation of FBO event.

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