Experiments in Fluids

, 59:63 | Cite as

Experimental study on rotating instability mode characteristics of axial compressor tip flow

  • Jie Tian
  • Dan Yao
  • Yadong Wu
  • Hua Ouyang
Research Article


This paper investigates the rotating instabilities that occurred on the single-stage axial compressor designed for aerodynamic performance validation, which was tested with two sets of circumferential measuring points in combination. Circumferential mode characteristics of compressors are usually too high to be captured experimentally, and aliasing of the circumferential mode order occurs when not enough sensors are used. A calibration and prediction method to capture the higher circumferential mode of unsteady flow in a compressor was proposed. Unsteady pressure fluctuations near the tip region in an axial compressor were studied, and high circumferential mode characteristics were captured on both the blade passing frequency (BPF) and the rotational instability frequency (RIF) under different flow rate conditions based on this novel method. The characteristic RI spectrum with a broadband hump was present in a large range of flow conditions. Both the frequency range and the dominant circumferential mode order decreased as the flow rate decreased. Based on the calibrated mode characteristics, a rotating aerodynamic source model is used to explain the side-by-side peak of RIF spectrum and rotating characteristics of RI. The calibration and prediction method of the high circumferential mode is beneficial for the research of unsteady flow in an axial compressor.

List of symbols


Number of rotor blades


Number of inlet guide vanes








Circumferential mode order


Actual mode order


Transition mode order


Number of evenly spaced measuring points in a ring


Flow coefficient


Angular velocity

\({\omega _m}\)

Angular velocity of the rotating mode

\({\theta _s}\)

Angular position


Total pressure coefficient

\(\Delta \phi\)

Circumferential phase difference



\({\Omega _R}\)

Angular velocity of rotor

\({\Omega _m}\)

Angular velocity of mode m at BPF


Least common multiple

\(\Omega _{{\text{Q}}}^{F}\)

Angular velocity of source Q in the fixed reference frame

\(\omega _{{\text{m}}}^{F}\)

Angular frequency of mode wave component m

\(\omega _{{}}^{{\text{Q}}}\)

Angular frequency of the aerodynamic source Q


Source rotating speed


Frequency of mode wave component m


Frequency of the aerodynamic source Q



This work is supported by the National Science Foundation of China (grant no. 11202132).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center for Advanced Aero-EngineBeijingChina

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