A split-fiber probe was used to acquire unsteady data in a research compressor. The probe has two thin films deposited on a quartz cylinder 200 μm in diameter. A split-fiber probe allows simultaneous measurement of velocity magnitude and direction in a plane that is perpendicular to the sensing cylinder. A calibration method was devised for a split-fiber probe, and a new algorithm was developed to decompose split-fiber probe signals into velocity magnitude and direction. The algorithm is based on the minimum value of a merit function that is built over the entire range of flow velocities for which the probe was calibrated. The new decomposition scheme is fast and robust. The split-fiber probe performance and signal decomposition was first verified in a free-jet facility by comparing the data from three thermo-anemometric probes, namely a single-wire, a single-fiber, and the split-fiber probe. The wire and single-fiber probe diameters are 5 μm and 70 μm, respectively. All three probes performed extremely well as far as the velocity magnitude was concerned. However, there are differences in the peak values of measured velocity unsteadiness in the jet shear layer. The single-wire probe indicates the highest unsteadiness level, followed closely by the split-fiber probe. The single-fiber probe indicates a noticeably lower level of velocity unsteadiness. Experiments in the NASA Low Speed Axial Compressor facility revealed similar results. The mean velocities agree within 2% of the measured velocity magnitude. The differences in the measured velocity unsteadiness are similar to the case of a free jet. A reason for these discrepancies is in the different frequency response characteristics of probes used. It follows that the single-fiber probe has the slowest frequency response. In summary, the split-fiber probe worked reliably during the entire program. The acquired data averaged in time followed closely data acquired by conventional pneumatic probes. Despite small differences among all probes used, that still need to be explained, it is believed that data acquired by the split-fiber probe can be used reliably to analyze unsteady flow phenomena in the NASA Low Speed Axial Compressor.

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