A novel theoretical model of the internal flow field in multistage axial compressors based on an eigenvalue approach is developed, in order to predict the onset of acoustic resonance in aircraft engines. Using an example high-speed four-stage compressor, it is shown that one of the resultant frequencies is in excellent agreement with the experimental data in terms of acoustic resonance. On the basis of the computed natural frequency of the whole compression system and the measured spanwise distribution of static pressure, the location of the acoustic excitation source can be found in the third stage. Unsteady flow simulations of the full annulus of this stage reveal two criteria for acoustic excitation at the rotor-blade tip, reversed flow near the suction surface and flow impingement on the pressure surface. Additionally, a fast Fourier transform of the unsteady pressure field at the upper rotor-blade span verifies the existence of the computed unstable frequency of the oscillating tip leakage flow. Using this novel theory, which combines a theoretical calculation of flow-instability frequency of the global system with the computational simulation of a single stage, the onset mechanism and location of the excitation source of acoustic resonance in multistage turbomachinery can be explained at acceptable computational cost.

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