This paper compares various approaches to simulate unsteady blade row interactions in turbomachinery. Unsteady simulations of turbomachinery flows have gained importance over the last years since increasing computing power allows the user to consider 3D unsteady flows for industrially relevant configurations. Furthermore, for turbomachinery flows, the last two decades have seen considerable efforts in developing adequate CFD methods which exploit the rotational symmetries of blade rows and are therefore up to several orders of magnitude more efficient than the standard unsteady approach for full wheel configurations.

This paper focusses on the harmonic balance method which has been developed recently by the authors. The system of equations as well as the iterative solver are formulated in the frequency domain.

The aim of this paper is to compare the harmonic balance method with the time-linearized as well as the non-linear unsteady approach. For the latter the unsteady flow fields in a fan stage are compared to reference results obtained with a highly resolved unsteady simulation. Moreover the amplitudes of the acoustic modes which are due to the rotor stator interaction are compared to measurement data available for this fan stage.

The harmonic balance results for different sets of harmonics in the blade rows are used to explain the minor discrepancies between the time-linearized and unsteady results published by the authors in previous publications. The results show that the differences are primarily due to the neglection of the two-way coupling in the time-linearized simulations.

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