This paper discusses the effect of axial overlap on tip leakage flow behavior in a low speed tandem bladed axial compressor. Tandem bladed axial flow compressors provide an efficient way of obtaining a higher pressure rise with minimum number of stages as compared to a conventional design. The single stage tandem rotor compressor is designed to achieve a stage loading coefficient of 1.04 and flow coefficient of 0.9. A tip clearance of 3% (of span) is provided for the current study and it is maintained constant for all axial overlap configuration studies. A computational study of the designed stage was performed to investigate the behavior of tip leakage flow with different axial overlap and its effect on the overall performance of the stage. The application of tandem blading is only justified by prescribing high aerodynamic loading on both blades which increases the concern for associated tip leakage and corner separation losses. The study reveals the interaction of tip leakage flow from the fore and aft blade with the end wall flow and its influence on the main stream flow. The presence of an aft blade behind the fore seeks additional caution for optimum management of tip leakage flow. The leakage flows from the individual blades tend to roll up along with the shroud boundary layer resulting in the formation of momentum deficit fluid in the flow passage and at exit of rotors. The penetration of momentum deficit fluid in the main stream flow is directly related to the leakage flow structure from the fore and aft blade and also their interaction with the end wall flow. The axial overlap is seen to influence the leakage flow structure in two different ways. Firstly, it is observed that the initiation of tip leakage vortex of aft blade shifts from 30% to 10% of chord measured from leading edge, as axial overlap varies from 5% to −5% of chord in the tip region respectively. Secondly, a change in axial overlap also causes a change in passage geometry of the tandem blade interaction zone which has a first order influence on the mass flow rate through it. The accelerated flow through the passage geometry sustains high loading on the aft blade. It can also be utilized for mitigating the low momentum incoming fluid resulting from the mixing of tip leakage and end wall flow. The appropriate realization of these two effects has a potential to minimize the losses occurring due to tip leakage flow in the tandem compressor rotor and to achieve the benefit of higher loading with minimum number of stages.

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