The compressor aerodynamic design is conducted under the condition of clean inlet in general, but a compressor often operates under the condition of inlet distortion in the practical application. It has been proven by a lot of experimental and numerical investigations that inlet distortion can decrease the performance and stability of compressors. The circumferential or radial distorted inlet in mostly numerical investigations is made by changing the total pressure and total temperature in the inlet ring surface of the compressors. In most of inlet distortion experiments, distorted inlets are usually created by using wire net, flashboards, barriers or the generator of rotating distortion. The fashion of generating distorted inlet for experiment is different from that for numerical simulation. Consequently, the flow mechanism of affecting the flow field and stability of a compressor with distorted inlet for experiment is partly different than that for numerical simulation.
In the numerical work reported here, the inlet distortion is generated by setting some barriers in the inlet ring surface of an axial subsonic compressor rotor. Two kinds of distorted inlet are investigated to exploring the effect of distorted range on the flow field and stability of the compressor with ten-passage unsteady numerical method. The numerical results show that the inlet distortions not only degrade the total pressure and efficiency of the compressor rotor, but also decrease the stability of the rotor. The larger the range of distorted inlet is, the stronger the adverse effect is. The comprehensive stall margin for the inlet distortion of 24 degrees and 48 degrees of ten-passages is reduced about 3.35% and 5.88% respectively. The detailed analysis of the flow field in the compressor indicates that the blockage resulted from tip clearance leakage vortex (TLV) and the flow separation near the suction surfaces of some blades tip for distorted inlet is more serious than that resulted from TLV for clean inlet. Moreover, the larger the range of distorted inlet is, the larger the range of the blockage is. The analysis of unsteady flow shows that during this process, which is that one rotor blade passes through the region affected by the distorted inlet, the range of the blockage in the rotor passage increases first, then reduces, and increases last.