Centrifugal compressors operating at varying rotational speeds, such as in helicopters or turbochargers, can experience forced response failure modes. The response of the compressors can be triggered by aerodynamic flow nonuniformities such as with diffuser-impeller interaction or with inlet distortions. The work presented here addresses experimental investigations of forced response in centrifugal compressors with inlet distortions. This research is part of an ongoing effort to develop related experimental techniques and to provide data for validation of computational tools. In this work, measurements of blade surface pressure and aerodynamic work distribution were addressed. A series of pressure sensors were designed and installed on rotating impeller blades and simultaneous measurements with blade-mounted strain gauges were performed under engine representative conditions. To the best knowledge of the authors, this is the first publication, which presents comprehensive experimental unsteady pressure measurements during forced response, for high-speed radial compressors. The experimental data were obtained for both resonance and off-resonance conditions with uniquely tailored inlet distortion. This paper covers aspects relating to the design of fast response pressure sensors and their installation on thin impeller blades. Additionally, sensor properties are outlined with a focus on calibration and measurement uncertainty estimations. The second part of this paper presents unsteady pressure results taken for a number of inlet distortion cases. It will be shown that the intended excitation order due to inlet flow distortion is of comparable magnitude to the second and third harmonics, which are consistently observed in all measurements. Finally, an experimental method will be outlined that enables the measurement of aerodynamic work on the blade surface during resonant crossing. This approach quantifies the energy exchange between the blade and the flow in terms of cyclic work along the blade surface. The phase angle between the unsteady pressure and the blade movement will be shown to determine the direction of energy transfer.

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