Systematical casing pressure measurements were undertaken to supplement instantaneous experiment data to available database of a high-speed small-scale compressor rotor, which was crucial for understanding the flow mechanism of short-length scale stall inception. At the same time, improved full-annulus simulations were conducted to assist in interpretation of experimental observations. In Part I of current investigation, FFT (fast Fourier transformation) and STFT (short time Fourier transformation) analyses of instantaneous casing pressure signals were conducted to conclude flow characteristics near casing at stable operating conditions, and reasonable explanation of experimental observations was given in combination with the current and previous numerical results.
FFT analyses of casing pressure signals showed a characteristic hump with varying band lower than blade passing frequency (BPF) appeared at near-stall stable conditions. This indicated that an unsteady phenomenon emerged from the near-tip flow field for the test rotor. The variation in the amplitude of characteristic hump implied that underlying flow mechanism leading to the emergence of unsteady phenomenon originated from a location near leading edge and within passage. Further STFT analyses showed that the active frequency of this unsteady phenomenon varied with time, thus leading to the appearance of excitation band in FFT analysis results. FFT and STFT analyses of monitoring results of numerical probes arranged in absolute frame showed a similar unsteady phenomenon appeared in the simulated near-tip flow field. Detailed analyses of simulated instantaneous flow fields and comparison with measured flow characteristics indicated that the unsteady flow phenomenon observed in experiments was equivalent to rotating instability (RI) as far as non-uniform tip loading distribution was concerned, and the formation and activity of tip secondary vortex (TSV) was the flow mechanism of emergence of RI.