The three dimensional structures of the blade tip vortical flow field is herein discussed for an axial fan in a fully-ducted configuration. The investigation has been carried-out using an accurate in-house developed multi-level parallel finite element RANS solver, with the adoption of a non-isotropic two-equation turbulence closure. Due to the fully-ducted configuration the fan has a complex vortical flow field near the rotor tip. The tip clearance flows have been detected for operating conditions near peak efficiency and near stall, with multiple vortex formations being identified in both cases. The nature of the flow mechanisms in the fan tip region is correlated to the specific blade design features that promote reduced aerodynamic noise. It was found that the blade lean at the higher radii attenuates the sensitivity to leakage flow effects. Consequently, the rotor operates efficiently and with nearly unchanged noise emission approaching its throttling limit. The rotor loss behaviour, within the passage and downstream of it, is also discussed at both near design and part-load conditions.

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