The vibrations involved in a typical axial compressor rotor in an aircraft engine are complex. Generally, the compressor blades are arranged in a cantilever type configuration. It is also known that the amplitude of vibration is highest near the tip section of the shroudless blade. Compressors are limited by aerodynamic instabilities such as rotating stall and surge. Rotating stall generally initiates near the tip region of the compressor. Blade vibrations coupled with aerodynamic instabilities will lead to a catastrophic scenario of flutter that is asynchronous to the rotor speed. This aeroelastic interaction is detrimental if not taken into consideration. Knowledge of vibration characteristics of the compressor rotor will help in mapping the flutter zone for safe operation.
The modal characteristics of the transonic axial compressor rotor available at the Axial Flow Compressor Research (AFCR) facility of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) are established in this study. A cyclic-symmetric pre-stressed modal analysis is performed on a single sector of the compressor rotor consisting of a shroudless blade connected to the disk with a pin type dovetail arrangement for different speeds. The main diagnostic charts for turbomachinery vibration i.e., Campbell and Interference diagrams are generated for various speeds and harmonic indices/ nodal diameters of the compressor rotor. The critical crossings of the engine order excitation lines over the natural frequencies of the blade are highlighted.
Experimental modal investigations and analysis are carried out on the compressor rotor at the stationary condition and for two different boundary conditions. First, the blade alone modal characteristics under the free-free condition are established. Later, the complete blade-disk assembly mounted on a base test-stand is used to investigate the cantilever fixed-free boundary condition of the chosen blade.
The modal characteristics are established by performing impact hammer experiments. Blade excitation is provided by a calibrated Dytran make impact hammer and the response is measured using a calibrated accelerometer.
The structural dynamic data acquisition hardware and software from OROS is used for determining the natural frequencies, mode shapes and structural damping for each mode of the compressor rotor. There is a good agreement in the natural frequencies and mode shapes established using experiment and numerical methods for the first three modes investigated. Modal Assurance Criteria (MAC) analysis is carried out for two different modal identification algorithms to compare the mode shapes.