The use of slots and grooves in the shroud over the tips of compressor blades, known as casing treatment, is a powerful method to control tip leakage flow through the clearance gap and enhance the flow stability in compressors. This paper presents a contribution to the understanding of the physical mechanism by which circumferential groove casing treatment manipulates the tip clearance flow’s unsteadiness. A series of computational studies were carried out to understand the physical mechanism responsible for improvement in stall margin of a high subsonic axial-flow compressor rotor due to the circumferential groove casing treatment from an unsteady viewpoint. Detailed analyses of the flow visualization at the tip have exposed the different tip flow topologies between the cases with circumferential groove and with untreated smooth wall. It was found that the primary stall margin enhancement afforded by the circumferential groove casing treatment is a result of the unsteady tip clearance flow manipulation. Breaking balance of incoming/tip clearance flow axial momentum by inducing the radial movement and tangential movement and delay the occurrence of tip clearance’s unsteadiness are the physical mechanisms responsible for extending the compressor stall margin.

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