This paper presents the numerical results of sand particle trajectories and erosion patterns in a single stage axial fan used in industrial air ventilation, and the subsequent deterioration of the blade geometry. Attention is focused in particular on the effects of rotor blade staggering and the operating flow rates. By adopting the Lagrangian formulation to study the dynamics of particulate air-flow, the flow-field within the blade passage is solved separately. Particle trajectories computation is based on a stochastic tracking algorithm, which includes eddy-lifetime concept for turbulence, and accounts for the complex flow patterns near walls, random particle rebound factors, in addition to particle size, shape and fragmentation. The equations of motion are solved in a stepwise manner, whereas, particle tracking in different cells of the computational domain is based on the finite element method. The computation of the particle trajectories yields the impact locations along the blade surfaces, where the corresponding erosion patterns are calculated by using experimental correlations. The results of the numerical simulations carried out at low and high concentrations of MIL-E5007E sand particles, for different fan blade staggering and mass flow rates, revealed that the main impacted areas are found along the blade leading edge, over a strip of the blade suction side and a large area of the pressure side, in addition to the tip and casing, but with rare impacts on the hub. The rates of erosion in this axial fan are found to depend strongly on the air flow condition and the blade staggering. In all operating conditions of this axial fan, the rates of erosion are lower in comparison to high speed fans and compressors. Erosion analysis could be used in aerodynamic and mechanical design procedures to produce turbomachinery blading that would be less susceptible to erosion.

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