Abstract

Body force models enable inexpensive numerical simulations of turbomachinery. The approach replaces the blades with sources of momentum/energy. Such models capture a “smeared out” version of the blades’ effect on the flow, reducing computational cost. The body force model used in this paper has been widely used in aircraft engine applications. Its implementation for low speed, low solidity (few blades) turbomachines, such as automotive cooling fans, enables predictions of cooling flows and component temperatures without calibrated fan curves. Automotive cooling fans tend to have less than 10 blades, which is approximately 50% of blade counts for modern jet engine fans. The effect this has on the body force model predictions is unknown and the objective of this paper is to quantify how varying blade count affects the accuracy of the predictions for both uniform and non-uniform inflow. The key findings are that reductions in blade metal blockage combined with spanwise flow redistribution drives the body force model to more accurately predict work coefficient as the blade count decreases, and that reducing the number of blades is found to have negligible impacts on upstream influence and distortion transfer in non-uniform inflow until extremely low blade counts (such as 2) are applied.

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