The multi-disciplinary optimization (MDO) method, which integrates aerodynamic performance and structural stability, was utilized in the development of a single-stage transonic axial compressor. Numerical simulations and compressor tests were also carried out to evaluate the aerodynamic performance and safety factor of the optimized compressor. The rotor has 60 design parameters with twelve most sensitive design variables selected for design optimization. The stator was redesigned according to the rotor outlet flow angle variation to match the stator incidence angle by −1∼0 degrees, while maintaining the stage outlet flow angle. The design goal is to maximize both the stage efficiency and the safety factor from the baseline scratch compressor design. The object function is composed of the normalized efficiency and safety factor with weight factors. Initially, an approximation model was created to search for the global optimization within given ranges of variables and considering several design constraints. The genetic algorithm was used to explore the Pareto front of the optimization to find the maximum objective function values. The final design was chosen after a second stage gradient-based optimization process to improve the accuracy of the optimization.

The CFD results showed that more blade loading is burden to the hub region by increasing the incidence angle. The fore part blade loading gradually decreases along the span-wise direction. In addition, normal shock, which spreads along the hub to the blade tip, is confined in the rotor flow passage and pressure surface shock coincidence point moves to be closer to the blade leading edge, indicating an increase in the amount of blade loading. FEA analyses showed that the blade root stress has been drastically relieved, because the optimized blade has trapezoid-shaped hub design relative to the baseline design. The final design achieved efficiency gain of 3.69% and showed a higher safety factor by 2.3 times relative to the baseline model, while maintaining its stage mass flow rate and total-to-total pressure within the design constraints. The compressor performance test data showed good agreement with the optimized design and CFD results. However, there is room for improvement in the optimization process to reflect off-design performance so as to secure more stable compressor operation ranges.

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