Abstract

The aim of the present paper is to improve the physical understanding of discrete prestall flow disturbances developing in the tip area of the compressor rotor. For this purpose, a complementary instrumentation was used in a single-stage axial compressor. A set of pressure transducers evenly distributed along the circumference surface mounted in the casing near the rotor tip leading edges measures the time-resolved wall pressures simultaneously to an array of transducers recording the chordwise static pressures. The latter allows for plotting quasi-instantaneous casing pressure contours. Any occurring flow disturbances can be properly classified using validated frequency analysis methods applied to the data from the circumferential sensors. While leaving the flow coefficient constant, a continuously changing number of prestall flow disturbances appears to be causing a unique spectral signature, which is known from investigations on rotating instability. Any arising number of disturbances is matching a specific mode order found within this signature. While the flow coefficient is reduced, the propagation speed of prestall disturbances increases linearly, and meanwhile, the speed seems to be independent from the clearance size. Casing contour plots phase-locked to the rotor additionally provide a strong hint on prestall disturbances clearly not to be caused by a leading edge separation. Data taken beyond the stalling limit demonstrate a complex superposition of stall cells and flow disturbances, which the title “prestall disturbance” therefore does not fit to precisely any more. Different convection speeds allow the phenomena to be clearly distinguished from each other. Furthermore, statistical analysis of the pressure fluctuations caused by the prestall disturbances offer the potential to use them as a stall precursor or to quantify the deterioration of the clearance height between the rotor blade tips and the casing wall during the lifetime of an engine.

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