Blade row interactions drive the unsteady performance of high-pressure compressors. Vane clocking is the relative circumferential positioning of consecutive stationary vane rows with the same vane count. By altering the upstream vane wake's path with respect to the downstream vane, vane clocking changes the blade row interactions and results in a change in steady total pressure loss on the downstream vane. The open literature lacks a conclusive discussion of the flow physics governing these interactions in compressors. This paper presents the details of a comprehensive vane clocking study on the embedded stage of the Purdue three-stage axial compressor. The steady loss results, including radial total pressure profiles and surface flow visualization, suggest a shift in the stator 2 corner separations occurs between clocking configurations associated with the maximum and minimum total pressure loss. To better understand the flow mechanisms driving the vane clocking effects on the steady stator 2 performance, time-resolved interrogations of the stator 2 inlet flow field, surface pressure unsteadiness, and boundary layer response were conducted. The stator 2 surface flows, both pressure unsteadiness and boundary layer transition, are influenced by vane clocking and interactions between rotor 1 and rotor 2, but neither of these results indicate a cause for the change in steady total pressure loss. Moreover, they are a result of upstream changes in the flow field: the interaction between the stator 1 wake and rotor 2 results in a circumferentially varying pattern which alters the inlet flow field for the downstream row, including the unsteadiness and frequency content in the tip and hub regions. Therefore, under different clocking configurations, stator 2 experiences significantly different inlet blockage and unsteadiness from the rotor 2 tip leakage flow and hub corner separation, which, in turn, shifts the radial blade loading distribution and subsequent loss development of stator 2.

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