At low mass flow rates axial compressors suffer from flow instabilities leading to stall and surge. The inception process of these instabilities has been widely researched in the past — primarily with the aim of predicting or averting stall onset. In recent times, attention has shifted to conditions well before stall and has focussed on the level of irregularity in the blade passing signature in the rotor tip region. In general, this irregularity increases in intensity as the flow rate through the compressor is reduced. Attempts have been made to develop stall warning/avoidance procedures based on the level of the flow irregularity, but little effort has been made to characterise the irregularity, or to understand its underlying causes. Work on this project has revealed for the first time that the increase in irregularity in the blade passing signature is highly dependent on both tip-clearance and eccentricity. In a compressor with small, uniform, tip-clearance, the increase in blade passing irregularity which accompanies a reduction in flow rate will be modest. If the tip-clearance is enlarged, however, there will be a sharp rise in irregularity at all circumferential locations. In a compressor with eccentric tip-clearance, the increase in irregularity will only occur in the part of the annulus where the tip-clearance is largest, regardless of the average clearance level. In this paper, some attention is also given to the question of whether this irregularity observed in the pre-stall flow field is due to random turbulence, or to some form of coherent flow structure. Detailed flow measurements reveal that the latter is the case. From these findings, it is clear that a stall warning system based on blade passing signature irregularity will not be viable in an aero-engine where tip-clearance size and eccentricity change during each flight cycle and over the life of the compressor.
Stall Warning by Blade Pressure Signature Analysis
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Young, A, Day, I, & Pullan, G. "Stall Warning by Blade Pressure Signature Analysis." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 Turbo Expo: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition. Volume 7: Turbomachinery, Parts A, B, and C. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. June 6–10, 2011. pp. 1589-1599. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/GT2011-45850
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