This paper presents the results of experimental investigations on the three-dimensional flow and performance characteristics of a free vortex axial flow fan rotor, with a freely rotating and braked inlet guide vane row. The influences of axial distance between the inlet guide vane row and the rotor inlet, inlet guide vane setting angle and shape, partial omission of guide vanes at the hub and tip regions on the return flows have been studied and optimum axial distance and setting angle that will improve the useful operating range of the fan were determined. Use of freely rotating inlet guide vanes at high flow volumes and braked inlet guide vanes at low flow coefficients resulted in a reduction of return flows and an increase of the stable operating range of the axial fan rotor by more than 35 percent and this combination has yielded higher efficiencies as well in the extended region of stable operation.

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