Experimental and numerical studies on the aerodynamic noise characteristics of a variable-speed axial fan commonly used for electronic device heat dissipation were conducted. First, the far-field noise spectrum of the fan was measured using a microphone array on the contour plane of the fan axis. The spectral analysis indicated that the discrete single-tone noise energy ratio was high, which indicates that it was the dominant aerodynamic noise. Afterwards, the double-uniform sampling point mode correction technique, which is based on the circumferential acoustic mode measurement method, was used to obtain the modal distribution on the inlet and outlet sides of the cooling fan. The influence of inlet unevenness on the cooling fan was identified. The traditional Tyler-Sofrin rotor-stator interaction formula was modified to account for the non-axisymmetric shape of the fan inlet bellmouth. The validity of the modified formula was verified by measuring the circumferential acoustic modes of three cooling fans with different rotor and strut counts. Furthermore, a CFD numerical study was conducted using Fluent to understand the influence of uneven inlet flow. The results showed that uneven inlet flow significantly affects the size and distribution of unsteady pulses on the rotor blades, which cause regular, periodic changes as the rotor blades rotate. Interactions between rotor blades and inlet unevenness were observed via the POD method as well. The discussion of the circumferential modes from aerodynamic noise of an axial flow cooling fan can act as a reference for further cooling fan noise reduction measures.

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