In turbomachinery, one way to improve aerodynamic performance and reduce fuel consumption consists of minimizing the clearance between rotor and casing. Yet, the probability of contact is increased and this may lead in some specific conditions to a large and even unstable excitation on the impeller and stator. To achieve better understanding of the dynamic behavior occurring during the blade-to-casing contact, many numerical studies have been conducted but only a few experiments have been reported in the literature thus far. The interaction experiment reported in this paper involves a low-pressure, rotating centrifugal compressor and its casing tested in a vacuum chamber. Contact is initiated by introducing a gap near zero, and certain events with significant dynamic levels are observed during the run-up. Measurements are performed using strain gauges on both the rotating and stationary parts and a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer on the stator. This research focuses on an analysis of the recorded data. Time series data are also analyzed by means of standard signal processing and a full spectrum analysis in order to identify the direction of traveling wave propagation on the two structures as well as nodal diameters and frequencies. The dynamic response of structures is accompanied by variations in other physical parameters such as temperature, static deformed shapes, speed, and torque. A wearing pattern is evaluated following the contact experiments. The spectral content of response is dominated by frequency modes excited by rotating speed harmonics as well as by sidebands due to inherent system nonlinearity.

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