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Integrally Bladed Rotor (IBR) – Abrasive Flow Machining

Funding body

National Aerospace Technology Programme (NATEP)

Principal investigator: Kai Cheng


Project description

An IBR has a number of aerofoils milled (typically 40-80) on the outside diameter. Surface finish and form control of these aerofoils is essential to the engine performance, and going forward will become an increasingly stringent technical requirement. A controlled polishing process to achieve the required surface finish without moving the aerofoil profile beyond drawing tolerance limits needs to be developed.

The project aims to develop a novel process chain and manufacturing capability for manufacturing IBR in high efficiency and accuracy, by integrating abrasive flow machining and 5-axis CNC milling processes in a scientific manner (predictable, producible and highly productive). This will be enabled by developing a CFD simulation tool that will predict profile changes based on the process parameters, allowing a milling profile to be developed that after abrasive flow will result in conforming aerofoils. IPR free test pieces will be designed and manufactured for the current range of IBR products using 5-Axis milling processes.

 Duration: 18 months