An air-separator for extending the operating range of a variable-pitch axial-flow fan has been developed. It has a circular-are outer casing, a part of which forms the guide vane at the inlet of the air-separator. To obtain a wide operating range and to minimize penalties in terms of efficiency and noise, the influence of exposure and clearance ratios at various stagger-angle settings for rotor blades in low-speed and high-speed axial flow fans was experimentally investigated. Flow distributions and pressure fluctuations downstream of the rotor were also measured in order to investigate the influence of the air-separator on rotating stall. The distributions and fluctuations suggested that the air-separator decreased the blockage effect near the rotor tip and suppressed the rotating stall. Moreover, stall-margin and pressure-rise improvements were independent of the clearance ratio. These improvements depended on the exposure ratio and stagger-angle settings for the rotor blades. The fan efficiency for the air-separator also depended on the exposure ratio. In addition, the efficiency had the opposite tendency to the stall-margin and pressure-rise improvements. In contrast, the noise for the air-separator was independent of the exposure ratio and decreased as the clearance ratio increased. For the optimum combination of the exposure and clearance ratios, the stall-margin and pressure-rise were improved by over 20% with minimized penalties in terms of efficiency and noise. It is concluded from these results that the developed air-separator can provide a wide operating range for a variable-pitch axial-flow fan.

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