This paper describes unsteady flow phenomena of a two-stage transonic axial compressor, especially the flow field in the first stator. The stator blade with highly loaded is likely to cause a flow separation on the hub, so-called hub-corner separation. The flow mechanism of the hub-corner separation in the first stator is investigated in detail using a large-scale detached eddy simulation (DES) conducted for its full-annulus and full-stage with approximately 4.5 hundred million computational cells. The detailed analysis of complicated flow fields in the compressor is supported by data mining techniques. The data mining techniques applied in the present study include vortex identification based on the critical point theory and topological analysis of the limiting streamline pattern.

The simulation results show that the flow field in the hub-corner separation is dominated by a tornado-type separation vortex. In the time averaged flow field, the hub-corner separation vortex rolls up from the hub wall, which is generated by the interaction between the mainstream flow, the leakage flow from the front partial clearance and the secondary flow across the blade passage toward the stator blade suction side. The hub-corner separation vortex suffers a vortex breakdown near the mid chord, where the high loss region due to the hub-corner separation expands drastically. In the rear part of the stator passage, a high loss region is migrated radially outward by the induced velocity of the hub-corner separation vortex.

The flow field in the stator is influenced by the upstream and downstream rotors, which makes it difficult to understand the unsteady effects. The unsteady flow fields are analyzed by applying the phase-locked ensemble averaging technique. It is found from the phase-locked flow fields that the wake interaction from the upstream rotor has more influence on the stator flow field than the shock wave interaction from the downstream rotor. In the unsteady flow field, a focal-type separation also emerges on the blade suction surface, but it is periodically swept away by the wake passing of the upstream rotor. The separation vortex on the hub wall connects with the one on the blade suction surface, forming an arch-like vortex.

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