DLR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DLR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Propfan research. View into a propulsion test chamber, showing the blades of an experimental propfan. The propfan is a recent development in aircraft propulsion. It uses a small jet engine at its core, which drives two counter-rotating sets of fan blades. The blades are smaller than those found on propellers (turboprop or piston engines), but larger than those found in the front of conventional turbofan engines. The highly-swept blade contours allow for high-speed cruising, but with better fuel efficiency than current engines. The main application for propfans would be in mid- sized commercial aircraft.
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