Most turbofans nowadays use "variable stator vanes"; what are these, what is their purpose, and how does it affect a gas turbine's performance?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi Anugerah Radifan. It's best to ask about one thing at a time. Be sure to take the tour. For VBV, see: What is the difference between variable and transient bleed valves? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 4:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Ah sorry, because both of them are in compressor airflow control so I thought they are related. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 5:06
  • $\begingroup$ If the linked post helped you with VBVs, you can press Edit and limit your question to VSVs. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ VSV and VBV are not the same. As explained in the linked question VBV are valves to discharge air into the secondary flow, VSV are vanes with a variable angle of attack, found on the first stages of the high pressure compressor (e.g. CFM56, the first 3 stators). See these slides starting p58. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Does the stator blade angle change? Why? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


A fan blade at the front or turbine blade at the back of a jet engine is a small aerofoil surface which is fixed to the main shaft and spins with it. By contrast, a stator vane is a similar aerofoil surface fixed to the outer casing and remains static.

Why do that? The spinning blades of a given stage cause the airflow to start spinning, and that slows the relative speed of the next stage (two things spinning together are at rest with respect to each other). The stator vanes "un-spin" the airflow so that the next stage blades meet it at full speed.

A variable vane pivots about its spanwise (radial) axis, allowing you to change its angle of attack to the oncoming airflow. Why do that? A turbojet engine at different stages in the flight will have different demands and conditions on it and will accordingly spin at different speeds. These effects change the airflow pattern through the engine. If a given stator vane is optimised for one stage of flight, it may not work so well in the modified airflow when a different stage is reached. Varying its angle can ensure that it can always be set at the optimum angle for the best performance.

So variable stator vanes ensure that a given jet engine can always operate at maximum efficiency and deliver optimal performance.

A typical way this is done is to fit gear wheels on the outer ends of the vane pivots, and place a single large toothed wheel around the whole engine so that when the large wheel turns, all the vanes in that position turn with it.

  • $\begingroup$ "The usual way this is done is to fit gear wheels on the outer ends of the vane pivots", CFMI uses levers and a ring actuated by bellcranks . See pages 136 et seq. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ True. I have modified my answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ Commented May 4, 2021 at 19:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .