Inlet distortion often occurs at off-design points when flow separates within an intake. This unsteady phenomenon could seriously impact fan performance. Fan-distortion interaction is a highly unsteady aerodynamic phenomenon. High-fidelity simulation can provide a detailed insight into these interactions. However, due to computational resource limitations, the use of eddy resolving methods for a fully resolved fan calculation is currently infeasible for industry. To solve this problem, a mixed-fidelity CFD method is proposed. This method uses the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) to resolve the turbulence associated with separation, and the Immersed Boundary Method with Smeared Geometry (IBMSG) for the fan. The method is validated by an experiment of Darmstadt Rotor, which shows a good agreement in terms of total pressure distributions.
A detailed investigation is then conducted on a subsonic rotor with an annular beam generating inlet distortion. A range of studies are performed to investigate fan influence on distortions. Compared to the case without fan, it shows that a fan has a significant effect in reducing distortions. Three fan locations are examined. The fan nearer to the inlet tends to have a higher pressure recovery. Three beams with different heights are also tested to generate various degrees of distortions. The results indicate that the fan can suppress the distortions and its recovery effect is proportional to the degree of inlet distortion.