The total noise emissions of two commercial axial fans were measured in a semi-anechoic fan test rig in comparison. The total sound pressure levels and the respective spectra were found to change with the fans’ operating points. Increasing fan flow rates lowered the total acoustic pressure, with a broadband shift towards higher frequencies, keeping perceived (A-weighted) sound pressure levels approximately constant over a wide range of operating points. In a second step, Laser Scanning Vibrometry measurements of the fan blades’ axial motion were conducted in comparison inside a wind tunnel fan test rig. Rotating blade surface vibration data was used as sole input to a Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings algorithm, to estimate noise emission from vibration. The computed noise from surface vibration was found to be hardly affected by the change of fan flow rate.

In the application of an axial fan subject to natural wind or induced cross flow at its inlet, the flow field and possible noise emission of the fan changes. Microphone measurements of the cross flow influence inside a semi-anechoic wind tunnel revealed increasing broadband noise with ambient flow field velocity, and an amplification of the sound at the blade passing frequency harmonics. Similar excitations of the blade passing frequency harmonics under cross flow influence were also found in sound pressure spectra computations based on the Laser Scanning Vibrometry measurement data captured in the wind tunnel fan test rig. Blade vibration is considered to contribute to the low frequency tonal noise emission of axial fans operating under cross flow conditions.

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