One of the advantages of a contra-rotating fan is its possibility to operate both the rotors at different speeds. Owing to this possibility, the performance of a contra-rotating fan can be controlled by operating it at different speed combinations. A numerical study of a low aspect ratio contra-rotating fan in low subsonic regime is carried out under various speed combinations of the rotors. Both steady state and Nonlinear Harmonic (NLH) simulations are performed to identify the important flow mechanisms in the contra-rotating fan. The results show that the diffusion factor of rotor-2 is significantly high towards the hub region which implies that large separations are likely to occur at the hub. The wake of rotor-1 is observed to impinge on the suction surface of rotor-2. Rotor-2 generates a strong suction effect at high rotational speeds and thereby delays the stall inception in the whole stage and shows an improvement in the stage pressure ratio. The upstream effect strongly influences the performance of rotor-1. When rotor-2 rotates at higher rotational speed, due to the suction effect, the flow angle at the exit of rotor-1 decreases which allows the fan to operate at lower flow coefficient. When the suction effect is very strong, it pulls the tip leakage vortex of rotor-1 towards the axial direction. Due to the suction effect, the location of the appearance of tip-leakage vortex moves further downstream. The tip-leakage vortex makes a higher angle with the blade chord at near stall conditions for speed combination Nd – 1.5Nd in contrast to a lower angle for speed combination Nd – 0.5Nd. In summary, the paper describes the performance changes, flow physics and the rotor-rotor interaction mechanisms for different speed combinations of a contra-rotating fan.

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