Numerical Investigation into the Mechanism Regarding the Inception and Evolution of Flow Unsteadiness Induced by Tip Leakage Flow in a Transonic Compressor

Guangyao An, Yanhui Wu, Stephen Spence, Jinhua Lang, Zhiyang Chen, Yasser Mahmoudi

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Unsteady flow in the blade tip region of modern axial flow compressors is one of the sources of loss, noise, and blade vibration. In some cases, it is potentially linked to stall inception. In this paper, the complex flow fields in the blade tip region of a transonic axial flow compressor rotor have been numerically investigated. The predicted results were validated by experimental data. Analyses of monitoring results of numerical probes showed that three typical flow characteristics occurred as the operating condition approached the stability limit: no flow fluctuation at the first operating point; flow fluctuation with high frequency and low amplitude at the second operating point; flow fluctuation with low frequency and high amplitude at the third operating point. Further analysis of the tip flow field showed that the evolution of the tip leakage vortex experienced three stages as the rotor was throttled. At the first stage, the TLV did not breakdown. At the second stage, a bubble-type breakdown of the tip leakage vortex occurred. At the third stage, a spiral-type breakdown of tip leakage vortex occurred. The current study demonstrated that the flow unsteadiness that appears within the test rotor was induced by the tip leakage vortex breakdown. Furthermore, with the transformation of the vortex breakdown form, the characteristic frequency and amplitude of the flow oscillation substantially changed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Mar 2020


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