Studies on the effects of stator reduced frequency in low pressure turbines have shown that periodic wake-induced unsteadiness can increase steady flow circulation by as much as 15% and reduce losses compared to a steady flow datum. A large separation bubble downstream of peak suction that formed under steady flow conditions was periodically suppressed by wake passing events, resulting in significantly reduced losses within the boundary layer.

This research extends this concept to a controlled diffusion compressor stator blade with a circular arc leading edge. The blade was placed inside a large scale, two-dimensional, cascade with a rotating bar mechanism used to simulate an upstream rotor blade row. The blade profile has been shown to experience leading edge separations and subsequent transition on both the pressure and suction surfaces due to a velocity overspeed caused by discontinuities in surface curvature.

Testing was carried out at reduced frequencies of 0.47, 0.94 and 1.88 at the design inlet flow angle 45.5° and Reynolds number based on chord of 230,000. The freestream turbulence intensity was 4.0%.

A range of experimental measurements were used to look at the blade’s performance: high resolution time-averaged blade surface static pressure measurements, inlet and exit 3-hole probe traverses and instantaneous, ensemble averaged and time average surface mounted hot-film measurements for the calculation of turbulent intermittency and quasi wall-shear stress.

Results showed that increasing the stator reduced frequency from, 0–1.88, increased the overall blade pressure loss. The losses generated by the pressure surface and suction surface differed significantly and are affected very differently. The pressure surface demonstrated a clear reduction in loss with an increase in reduced frequency whereas the opposite trend was seen on the suction surface.

Wake-induced turbulent strips suppressed the formation of leading edge separation bubbles that formed under steady flow conditions and in between wake passing events. Wake-induced turbulent strips reduced in width and level of turbulent intermittency through the favorable pressure gradients leading to peak suction and grew in the adverse pressure gradient of the velocity overspeed. The flow between wake-induced turbulent strips partially relaminarised through the favorable pressure gradient leading to peak suction.

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