The present study is focused on the analysis of the dynamic and periodic interaction between both fixed and rotating blade rows in a single stage, low-speed axial fan with inlet guide vanes. The main goal is placed on the characterization of the unsteady flow structures involved in an axial flow fan of high reaction degree, relating them to working point variations and axial gap modifications. For that purpose, an experimental open-loop facility has been developed to obtain a physical description of the flow across the turbomachine. Using hot-wire anemometry, measurements of axial and tangential velocities were carried out in two transversal sectors: one between the rows and the other downstream of the rotor, covering the whole span of the stage for a complete stator pitch. Ensemble- and time-averaging techniques were introduced to extract deterministic fluctuations from raw data, both of which are essential to understand flow mechanisms related to the blade passing frequency. An exhaustive analysis of the measured wakes has provided a comprehensive description of the underlying mechanisms in both wake-transport phenomena and stator-rotor interaction. In addition, unmixed stator wakes, observed at the rotor exit, have been treated in terms of dispersion and angular displacement to indicate the influence of the blades loading on the transport of the stator wake fluid. The final aim of the paper is to highlight a complete picture of the unsteady flow patterns inside industrial axial fans.

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