The results of an experimental investigation of the flow field within a low-solidity inducer at design and off-design flow rates are presented and discussed; particular attention is devoted to the analysis of the flow field, at the tip in front of the leading edge, for the flow rate close to the back-flow onset. The flow field was measured by means of a laser-Doppler velocimeter at four different axial positions upstream, within, and downstream of the inducer. Axial, tangential, and relative flow angle distributions, in the measuring planes, are presented for three different flow coefficients. At the lower flow rate, the plots show the presence of reverse flow in the region close to the hub downstream of the trailing edge. For the same flow rate, quite low axial velocities are detected at the tip. This is in agreement with pressure probe traverses carried out in a slightly downstream section; these measurements also show radial inward velocities of the same order of magnitude as the axial velocities. Circumferentially averaged losses were evaluated from specific work and total head rise given by pressure probes.

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