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Unsteady Modelling of the Tip Clearance Flow in an Inlet Vaned, Low-Speed Axial Fan: Deterministic Interactions of Stator Wakes and Tip Vortex Structures

[+] Author Affiliations
Jesús Manuel Fernández Oro, Katia María Argüelles Díaz, Carlos Santolaria Morros, Mónica Galdo Vega

University of Oviedo, Gijón, Asturias, Spain

Paper No. FEDSM2009-78352, pp. 155-164; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 2: Fora
  • Vail, Colorado, USA, August 2–6, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4373-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3855-6
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


In last years, numerical modelling has reached a significant level of maturity in the analysis of axial turbomachinery flows. Full-unsteady, three-dimensional computations have been demonstrated as a powerful tool to characterize viscous phenomena on blade row interactions and blade passage structures. In particular, major effects have been focused on the study of deterministic fluctuations in order to quantify the impact of periodic unsteadiness on the time-averaged flow. An additional complexity concerns to the influence of the tip vortex structures on the deterministic patterns. Hence, some researchers have advanced experimental evidences on the contribution of tip leakage flow to the time-resolved distributions. Tip vortex, shedding energy at a wide range of scales, has been shown to be significant in the description of the spanwise momentum transfer and the appearance of mixing losses. Recently, the authors have investigated the impact of the tip vortex on the passage flow structures of a jet fan with symmetric blades. This work revealed valuable information about tip vortex transport in low-speed axial turbomachinery and demonstrated the ability of commercial codes to simulate three-dimensional, vortical structures with high accuracy. The present paper takes advantage of the same numerical methodology to highlight the influence of the deterministic correlations that describe the stator-rotor interaction on the tip vortex in a single-stage axial fan. Up to now, few works addressing deterministic contributions over the tip leakage flow are available in the literature, so more investigation is needed to understand the complexity of these physical mechanisms. Our contribution to the topic is based on a 3D, unsteady numerical simulation of the flow within a reduced periodic domain of the full-annulus axial stage, composed by only 3-vane and 2-blade passages. This simplification allows an enhancement of the grid density when massive parallel computations are employed. Also, comparison with experimental data measured using hot-wire anemometry is provided to validate the numerical model. The results show how the non-uniformities of the stator wake-core structure in the relative frame of reference are conditioning the tip leakage flow, addressing the influence of the operating conditions or the interrow spacing. The final objective is to provide levels of instabilities in the tip vortex derived from deterministic non-uniformities associated to vane-to-vane flow patterns, applicable in further modelling of deterministic stresses.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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