Effects of Tip Clearance on Stall Inception in a Multistage Compressor

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Berdanier, RA 
Smith, NR 
Young, AM 
Key, NL 

Rotor tip clearance height and the associated tip leakage flow have a significant effect on the performance and stability of compressors. Existing studies considering tip clearance effects on stability have been primarily limited to low-speed compressors, and many of these evaluated single-stage machines, which may not adequately represent stall trends for engine-scale compressors. Furthermore, test campaigns for engine-scale compressors cannot provide instrumentation accessibility required for detailed stage performance and stall investigations. Using results collected from a three-stage intermediate-speed axial compressor with appreciable density rise, this study addresses these needs. In this paper, three rotor tip clearances are tested, ranging from 1.5 to 4% span (1 to 3% chord). Previous studies have primarily shown a transition from short-length-scale spikes to long-length-scale modes as the clearance is increased, whereas the present study shows the opposite: a transition from modes to spikes with increased tip clearance. As a result, these data emphasize that a definitive trend does not exist between the stall inception mechanism and increasing tip clearance. Instead, the clearance effects alter stage matching with speed and change the stall inception mechanism. These results also elicit future research by preliminarily suggesting that stall inception mechanisms may be predictable from steady performance measurements collected in the stalling stage.

Read More: https://arc.aiaa.org/doi/10.2514/1.B36364

40 Engineering, 4001 Aerospace Engineering
Journal Title
Journal of Propulsion and Power
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Journal ISSN
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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Technology Strategy Board (101369)
This material is based upon work supported by NASA under the ROA-2010 NRA of the Subsonic Fixed Wing project, with Technical Monitor Mark Celestina, and in part by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under grant DGE-1333468.