Advanced predictions of blade flutter have been continually pursued. It is noted however that validation cases of unsteady CFD methods against experimental cases with detailed 3D unsteady pressures are still rather lacking. The main objectives of the present work are two-folds. Firstly, validate and understand the characteristics of blade tip clearance, as well as a bubble-type flow separation for an unsteady CFD solver against a 3D oscillating cascade experiment. And secondly, examine the applicability of the Influence Coefficient Method (ICM) as widely used in an oscillating linear cascade setup.

In the first part, the capability of a widely used commercial solver (CFX) for unsteady flows induced by a 3D oscillating compressor cascade is examined. The present computations have shown consistently a destabilizing effect of increasing blade tip clearance, in agreement with the experiment. More remarkably, the computational analyses reveal a distinctive interplay between the inlet endwall boundary layer and the tip clearance in relation to the aerodynamic damping. Different inlet endwall boundary layer thicknesses are shown to lead to qualitatively different aeroelastic stability characteristics in relation to tip clearance. The aero-damping variation with the tip-clearance under the influence of the inlet endwall boundary layer seems to correlate closely to a balancing act between the passage vortex and the tip-leakage vortex. The tip clearance aeroelastic behaviour seems also in line with a simple quasi-steady analysis. On the other hand, the mid-chord laminar bubble separation on suction surface, though with a clear signature in the local aero-damping, has negligible effects on the overall stability.

The second part aims to examine computationally the applicability of the influence coefficient method in a linear cascade setup. The comparison between the cascade based ICM data and a baseline ‘tuned cascade’ shows that the differences in the sensitivity to the far-field treatment can be significant, depending on interblade phase angles. On the other hand, non-linearity effects closely relevant to the basic linear assumption of the ICM are shown to only have a small influence. The present results suggest that extra caution should be exercised when comparing a CFD-based tuned cascade model with a finite cascade-based ICM model, at conditions close to acoustic resonance. The resultant discrepancies may well arise from the inherently different far-field sensitivities between the two models, rather than those typical numerical and physical modelling aspects of interest (e.g. meshing, spatial and temporal discretization errors as well as turbulence modelling).

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