The advent of a new generation of transient rotating turbine simulation facilities, where engine values of Reynolds and Mach number are matched simultaneously together with the relevant rotational parameters for dimensional similitude (Dunn et al [1988], Epstein et al [1984]. Ainsworth et al [1988]), has provided the stimulus for developing improved instrumentation for investigating the aerodynamic flows in these stages.

Much useful work has been conducted in the past using hot-wire and laser anemometers. However, hot-wire anemometers are prone to breakage in the high pressure flows required for correct Reynolds numbers, Furthermore some laser techniques require a longer runtime than these transient facilites permit, and generally yield velocity information only, giving no data on loss production.

Advances in semiconductor aerodynamic probes are beginning to fulfil this perceived need. This paper describes advances made in the design, construction, and testing of two and three dimensional fast response aerodynamic probes, where semiconductor pressure sensors are mounted directly on the surface of the probes, using techniques which have previously been successfully used on the surface of rotor blades (Ainsworth, Dietz and Nunn [1991]). These are to be used to measure Mach number and flow direction in compressible unsteady flow regimes.

In the first section, a brief review is made of the sensor and associated technology which has been developed to permit a flexible design of fast response aerodynamic probe. Following this, an extensive programme of testing large scale aerodynamic models of candidate geometries for suitable semiconductor scale probes is described, and the results of these discussed. The conclusions of these experiments, conducted for turbine representative mean and unsteady flows, yielded new information for optimising the design of the small scale semiconductor probes, in terms of probe geometry, sensor placement, and aerodynamic performance.

Details are given of a range of wedge and pyramid semiconductor probes constructed, and the procedures used in calibrating and making measurements with them. Differences in performance are discussed, allowing the experimenter to choose an appropriate probe for the particular measurement required.

Finally, the application of prototype semiconductor probes in a transient rotor experiment at HP turbine representative conditions is described, and the data so obtained is compared with (PD solutions of the unsteady viscous flow-field.

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