The aerodynamic and aeroacoustic performance of axial fans are strongly affected by the unavoidable tip clearance. Two identical fan impellers but with different tip clearance ratio were investigated. Unsteady wall pressure fluctuations in the tip region of the rotating blades and on the interior wall of the duct type shroud and the overall sound radiated were analysed by an unsteady numerical Scale-Adaptive Simulation (SAS) and unsteady surface pressure measurements in both, the stationary and rotating system. Based on SAS-predicted pressure fluctuations on the blade surfaces the acoustic analogy according to Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings (FWH) was employed to calculate the sound pressure in the far field.

In general, experimentally and numerically determined unsteady flow were found to be a tendentially good agreement. The spatial and temporal structure of the tip vortex system and the resulting unsteady pressure distribution on the surfaces in the vicinity of the blade tips was revealed in good detail. The vortices’ strength and trajectories as well as the unsteadiness are controlled by the size of the tip clearance and the operating point: As tip clearance is increased blade/vortex interaction becomes more prevalent and with it the unsteady surface pressure and eventually the sound radiated into the far field. The broadband tip clearance noise was acceptably predicted from the simulation results, while the prediction at discrete frequency should still be improved in the further work.

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