The current paper reports on investigations with an aim to advance the understanding of the flow field near the casing of a small-scale high-speed axial flow compressor rotor. Steady three dimensional viscous flow calculations are applied to obtain flow fields at various operating conditions. To demonstrate the validity of the computation, the numerical results are first compared with available measured data. Then, the numerically obtained flow fields are analyzed to identify the behavior of tip leakage flow, and the mechanism of blockage generation arising from flow interactions between the tip clearance flow, the blade/casing wall boundary layers, and non-uniform main flow. The current investigation indicates that the “breakdown” of the tip leakage vortex occurs inside the rotor passage at the near stall condition. The vortex “breakdown” results in the low-energy fluid accumulating on the casing wall spreads out remarkably, which causes a sudden growth of the casing wall boundary layer having a large blockage effect. A low-velocity region develops along the tip clearance vortex at the near stall condition due to the vortex “breakdown”. As the mass flow rate is further decreased, this area builds up rapidly and moves upstream. This area prevents incoming flow from passing through the pressure side of the passage and forces the tip leakage flow to spill into the adjacent blade passage from the pressure side at the leading edge. It is found that the tip leakage flow exerts little influence on the development of the blade suction surface boundary layer even at the near stall condition.

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