For a considerable amount of time blade integrated disks (blisks) are established as a standard component of high pressure compressors (HPCs) in aero engines. Due to the steady requirement to increase the efficiency of modern HPCs, blade profiles get thinned out and aerodynamic stage loading increases. Ever since, aerofoil design has to balance structural and aerodynamic requirements. One particularity of aero engines is the possibility to ingest different kinds of debris during operation and some of those particles are hard enough to seriously damage the aerofoil. Lately, a growing number of blisk-equipped aero engines entered service and the question of foreign object damage (FOD) sensitivity relating to compressor blade high cycle fatigue (HCF) has emerged. Correct prediction of fatigue strength drop due to a FOD provides a huge chance for cost cutting in the service sector as on-wing repairs (e.g. borescope blending) are much more convenient than the replacement of whole blisks and corresponding engine strips.
The aim of this paper is to identify critical FOD-areas of a modern HPC stage and to analyze the effects of stress concentrations — caused by FOD — on the fatigue strength. A process chain has been developed, that automatically creates damaged geometries, meshes the parts and analyses the fatigue strength. Amplitude frequency strength (af-strength) has been chosen as fatigue strength indicator owing to the fact, that amplitudes and frequencies of blade vibrations are commonly measured either by blade tip timing or strain gauges. Furthermore, static and dynamic stress concentrations in damaged geometries compared to the reference design were computed. A random variation of input parameters was performed, such as the radial damage position at blade leading edge and damage diameter.
Based on results of the different samples, correlations of input parameters and the fatigue strength drop have been investigated. Evaluation shows a significant mode dependence of critical blade areas with a large scatter between drops in fatigue strength visible for mode to mode comparison. Keeping in mind the necessity of fast response times in the in-service sector, FOD sensitivity computations could be performed for all blade rows of the HPC — including the analysis of possible borescope blending geometries — in the design stage. Finally, the actual amplitude frequency levels (af-levels) of the modes excited during operation have to be appropriately taken into consideration. For example, a pronounced af-strength drop due to a FOD may not be critical for safe engine operations because the observed mode is excited by small af-levels during operation. Hence, the endurance ratio — a quotient of af-level and af-strength — is used as assessment criterion.