Despite significant advancements in computational power and various numerical modeling in past decades, flow simulation of a multi-stage axial-flow compressor is still one of the most active areas of research, for it is the critical component in engine performance and operability, and there are so many elements that need to be looked into to predicting correct matching of the stages and accurate flow distribution inside the machine. Modeling unsteadiness, both deterministic and random types, and real geometries are among the most important features to be considered in such prediction.
The authors have conducted in their previous studies a series of unsteady RANS (URANS) simulations of a 6.5-stage high-speed highly-loaded axial-flow compressor, and explored many unsteady effects as well as effects of real geometries such as Variable Stator Vane (VSV) clearance and inter-stage seal leakage flow on the compressor performance. However, all the analyses failed to predict correct stage matching, total pressure and temperature radial profiles, or mass-flow with adequate accuracies.
In the present study, an Improved Delayed Detached Eddy Simulation (IDDES) with SST k-omega model is applied to the simulation of the same compressor configuration at aerodynamic design point. Fifth-order WENO scheme is employed for improved spatial accuracy to suppress significant increase in mesh size. Total number of mesh points are over 400 million for 1/10th sector model. Computations are ensemble averaged for 20 sector passage. Computed overall performance and flow field are compared with the compressor rig test data. The predictions of inter-stage total temperature radial profiles are noticeably improved over the URANS with the same mesh, discretization scheme and eddy turbulence model. Good comparison with the rig data indicates the current simulation is properly capturing the span-wise mixing phenomena. Unsteady flow field are compared between IDDES and URANS to locate the cause for the enhanced mixing. It is shown that components of Reynolds stress responsible for radial diffusion and anisotropic features are intensified in the tip leakage vortex at the rotor exit for the IDDES.