The experimental investigation of the unsteady flow field in a highly loaded single stage low pressure axial compressor, also called a booster, is presented in this paper. The compressor design is representative of an advanced direct drive turbofan booster. Tests were performed on different speed lines at choke, design, and near stall, in the VKI-R4 closed loop compressor test rig. The rotor casing was instrumented with fast response pressure transducers to perform a detailed survey of the tip flow features. Simultaneous time-resolved measurements with fast response aerodynamic pressure probes were performed by radial and circumferential traverses to map the unsteady flow field at rotor and stator exit. The originality of this paper also resides in the fact that unsteady flow angle data are presented as the probe was used in a virtual 3-hole mode. The casing measurements allow to map the direction and extension of the tip leakage vortex. The flow path measurements show its extension at the exit of the rotor blade passage and its evolution as throttling is increased towards the compressor stability limit. The results are presented in terms of periodic and random fluctuations. These experimental results are combined to provide a three-dimensional view of the experimental flow field. They are discussed and compared to CFD simulations, showing that, in some regions, important features are not captured by the numerical model. In particular, the presence of a second wake has been observed in the unsteady yaw angle map at rotor exit. This uncommon feature is currently under further investigation.

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