Abstract

The bladeless fan is a new concept of fan that does not have visible impellers. It features low noise level, uniform airflow, and improved safety. It has been widely applied in household appliances. Since the customers are particularly sensitive to the noise generated by the fan, the aeroacoustics performance of the fan needs to be accurately characterized in the design stage. In this study, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and computational aeroacoustics (CAA) are applied to investigate the aeroacoustics performance and identify the major noise source of the bladeless fan. A prototype of the bladeless fan, including a wind channel, a base cavity, a rotor and a stator inside the base, is set in a computational domain of 4m × 2m × 2m and the airflow through the fan is simulated. The hybrid mesh is generated, the unstructured mesh in the near field, and the structured at the far field. To compute the flow field, steady RANS simulation (standard k–ε turbulence model) and Large Eddy simulation (Smagorinsky-Lilly model) are carried out. Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings (FW-H) analogy is used to predict the acoustic field. Experiments, including air velocity measurement and sound pressure measurement, are conducted to validate simulation results. Sound pressure level results at the near-field receiver illustrate that the blade passage frequency can be captured by combined CFD and CAA method. Noise source analysis shows that the combination of the rotor and stator contributes most to the noise produced by the bladeless fan. The wind channel is the secondary source. Sound pressure level contours at different distances and different heights are generated to investigate the directivity pattern of the noise generated by the bladeless fan. At the near field, the produced noise at the front and the back of the bladeless fan are louder than those at left and right; at the far field, the noise at the front is much larger than the other three sides. In addition, at the near field, with the increase of the height, two separated hotspots appear over 2,500Hz and the sound pressure level at these two hotspots increases; at the far field, the noise distribution at different heights is similar and the peak near 3,000Hz can be estimated. A possible reason to cause this peak is vortex shedding at the trailing edge of the rotor’s blades. The aeroacoustics analysis is helpful to develop strategies to reduce noise and guide the improved design of the bladeless fan.

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