As a consequence of constant volume combustion in gas turbines pressure waves propagating upstream the main flow into the compressor system are generated leading to incidence variations. Numerical and experimental investigations of stator vanes have shown that Active Flow Control (AFC) by means of adaptive blade geometries is beneficial when such periodic incidence variations occur. A significant risk reduction in a compressor facing disturbances can thereby be achieved concerning stall or choke. Experimental investigations on such an AFC method with simultaneous application of a closed-loop control are missing in order to demonstrate its potential.

This work investigates a linear compressor cascade that is equipped with a 3D-manufactured piezo adaptive blade structure. The utilized actuators are piezoelectric Macro-Fiber-Composites. A throttling device is positioned downstream the trailing edge plane to emulate an unsteady combustion process. Periodic transient throttling events with a frequency of up to 20 Hz cause incidence changes to the blade’s leading edge. Consequently, pressure fluctuations on the blade’s surface occur, having a significant impact on the pressure recovery downstream of the stator cascade. Experimental results of harmonically actuating the piezo adaptive blade with the corresponding disturbance frequency show that the impact of disturbances can be reduced to approx. 50 %. However, this is only effective if the phase shift of the harmonic actuation is adjusted correctly. Using an inadequate phase shift reverses the positive effects, causing the aforementioned stall, choke, or significant losses. In order to find the optimum phase shift, even under varying, possibly unpredictable operating conditions, an Extremum Seeking Controller is presented. This gradient-based approach is minimizing the pressure variance over time by carefully adjusting the phase shift of the harmonic actuation of the AFC system.

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