A composite fan stage representative of a modern UHBR architecture has been investigated experimentally on a novel test facility at Ecole Centrale de Lyon. These measurements show indications for strong overloading of the tip region resulting in extensive blockage of the blade passage.
The performance of the fan is analyzed with extensive instrumentation including radial profiles upstream and downstream of the rotor. Unsteady pressure measurements help to interpret the flow structure in the tip region. The results are presented across a range of operating points on the design speedline. At the stability limit, the machine suffers from Non-Synchronous Vibrations which result from small scale aerodynamic disturbances propagating between the leading edges. A detailed analysis on the occurring waveforms is presented for two operating speeds.
In order to further analyze the observed phenomena, a numerical study has been conducted using the RANS solver elsA. The results of steady calculations are discussed in comparison with the detailed experiments. Unsteady simulations near the stability limit accurately predict the aerodynamic disturbances observed during NSV.
The obtained results are unusual for typical state-of-the-art transonic fans, as they show the same behavior as high-pressure compressor front stages, dominated by blockage caused by tip leakage flow. Even though flutter is not observed, the observed Non-Synchronous Vibration mechanism is a critical aeroelastic phenomenon which is of great interest for future designs of low speed fans.