, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 743-753
Date: 22 Jul 2005

Characterization of the tip clearance flow in an axial compressor using 3-D digital PIV

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The accurate characterization and simulation of rotor tip clearance flows has received much attention in recent years due to their impact on compressor performance and stability. At NASA Glenn the first known three dimensional digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) measurements of the tip region of a low speed compressor rotor have been acquired to characterize the behavior of the rotor tip clearance flow. The measurements were acquired phase-locked to the rotor position so that changes in the tip clearance vortex position relative to the rotor blade can be seen. The DPIV technique allows the magnitude and relative contributions of both the asynchronous motions of a coherent structure and the temporal unsteadiness to be evaluated. Comparison of measurements taken at the peak efficiency and at near stall operating conditions characterizes the mean position of the clearance vortex and the changes in the unsteady behavior of the vortex with blade loading. Comparisons of the 3-D DPIV measurements at the compressor design point to a 3D steady N-S solution are also done to assess the fidelity of steady, single-passage simulations to model an unsteady flow field.