The application of casing treatments (CT) is an effective measure to increase the stable operating range of modern aero engine or gas turbine compressors. As the development and design process of optimized CT geometries is primarily based on numerical simulations, the need for accurate experimental flow field data for related code validation is increasing with the number of applications. While the stall margin enhancement and other stage characteristics can be verified using conventional measurement techniques such as pressure and temperature probes, a deeper insight to the aerodynamic effect of the CT on the rotor flow field can only be provided using non-intrusive, laser-based flow field diagnostics, given that optical access to the compressor stage can be established.
The investigation presented herein involved particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements at high spatial resolution in the blade tip region of the Darmstadt Transonic Compressor Rotor-1 under the influence of a bend-slot CT. Tangential PIV measurement planes were placed at 95% span as well as in the tip gap of the rotor. The investigation included operating conditions at the aerodynamic design point (peak efficiency) and near stall conditions at 100% rpm. Additional reference measurements were performed with the untreated, smooth casing. The experimental study was complimented by numerical simulations of the same compressor and CT geometry using the DLR TRACE code. Based on the combination of both, experimental and numerical flow field results, a detailed analysis of the shock structures and the tip clearance vortex under the influence of the CT was performed.
Under the influence of the CT, the fluid exchange between rotor passage and CT slots — driven by the pressure gradient over the blade tip and the leading edge bow shock, respectively — induces secondary flow structures in the tip vortex regime. At near stall conditions the periodical injection of energized fluid out of the CT cavities was identified to be one of the major effects stabilizing the tip clearance vortex and hence delaying the onset of rotating stall.