The three-dimensional flow field in the tip region of an isolated axial flow fan rotor with two different tip clearances are investigated using a three-color, dual-beam PDA system (Particle Doppler Anemometer, DANTEC Measurement Technology). The global performance is also obtained, and is compared favorably with CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) modeling of this fan flow at a zero tip clearance. The detailed flow field measurements are taken at 15 axial locations upstream, inside and at the exit of the rotor. In the radial direction, 15 measurement locations are arranged from 50% of the blade span to the casing wall, mainly focusing on the tip region from 90% of the blade span location to the casing wall (about 10 measurement locations). The PDA data has provided a quantitative understanding of the flow phenomena in the tip region of the fan rotor. For both tip clearances, it has been observed that the tip leakage flow rolls up into a tip leakage vortex. Due to the rotation of the rotor, this tip leakage vortex moves away from the suction surface of the fan blade. A reverse flow is induced in the main flow passage because of the tip leakage vortex. The depth and extent of the tip leakage vortex grow noticeably with the increase of the tip clearance.

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