This paper discusses the results of a parametric study of a pair of contra-rotating axial fan rotors. The rotors were designed to deliver a mass flow of 6 kg/s at 2400 rpm. The blades were designed with a low hub-tip ratio of 0.35 and an aspect ratio of 3.0. Numerical and experimental studies were carried out on these contra-rotating rotors operating at a Reynolds number of 1.25 × 105 (based on blade chord). The axial spacing between the rotors was varied between 50 to 120 % of the chord of rotor 1. The performance of the rotors was evaluated at each of these spacing at design and off-design speeds. The results from the numerical study (using ANSYS CFX) were validated using experimental data. In spite of certain limitations of CFD under certain operating conditions, it was observed that the results agreed well with those from the experiments.
The performance of the fan was evaluated based on the variations of total pressure, velocity components and flow angles at design and off-design operating conditions. The measurement of total pressure, flow angles etc. are taken upstream of the first rotor, between the two rotors and downstream of the second rotor. It was observed that the aerodynamics of the flow through a contra rotating stage is significantly influenced by the axial spacing between the rotors and the speed ratio of the rotors. With increasing speed ratios, the strong suction generated by the second rotor, improves the stage pressure rise and the stall margin. Lower axial spacing on the other hand, changes the flow incidence to the second rotor and thereby improves the overall performance of the stage. The performance is investigated at different speed ratios of the rotors at varying axial spacing.