The influence of free-stream turbulence on wake dispersion and boundary layer transition processes has been studied in a 1.5-stage axial compressor. An inlet grid was used to produce turbulence characteristics typical of an embedded stage in a multistage machine. The grid turbulence strongly enhanced the dispersion of inlet guide vane (IGV) wakes. This modified the interaction of IGV and rotor wakes, leading to a significant decrease in periodic unsteadiness experienced by the downstream stator. These observations have important implications for the prediction of clocking effects in multistage machines. Boundary layer transition characteristics on the outlet stator were studied with a surface hot-film array. Observations with grid turbulence were compared with those for the natural low turbulence inflow to the machine. The transition behavior under low turbulence inflow conditions with the stator blade element immersed in the dispersed IGV wakes closely resembled the behavior with elevated grid turbulence. It is concluded that with appropriate alignment, the blade element behavior in a 1.5-stage axial machine can reliably indicate the blade element behavior of an embedded row in a multistage machine.

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