Blade failure in turbomachinery is frequently caused by an excessive resonant response. Forced response of the blades originates from unsteady fluid structure interactions as conditioned in the inlet section by duct bends, struts or inlet guide vanes. This paper presents the computational part of a research effort that focuses on the blade forced response in a centrifugal compressor. Unsteady fluid flow simulations are used to quantify the forcing function acting on the compressor blades due to inlet flow distortion. The measured inlet flow distribution is applied as inlet boundary conditions in the computation. The unsteady investigation provided the temporal evolution of the distorted flow through the compressor. The time-resolved blade pressure distribution showed the temporal evolution of the dynamic load on the blade surface caused by the inlet distortion. The results suggest that the forcing function is most sensitive in the leading edge region due to inlet angle variations. Towards the impeller stability line the increase in incidence caused separation on the suction side of the main blade and therefore considerably altered the amplitude and the phase angle of the unsteadiness. The investigation of the effect of idealizing the inlet flow distribution on the forcing function showed an increase of the peak amplitude of approximately 30% compared to the actual inlet flow distribution.

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