Effects of the Reynolds Number on the Efficiency and Stall Mechanisms in a Three-stage Axial Compressor

Document Type : Regular Article

Authors

High Speed Aerodynamics Institute, China Aerodynamics Research and Development Center, Mianyang 621000, China

10.47176/jafm.17.6.2309

Abstract

The Reynolds number (Re) is an important parameter that can affect compressor performance. This study experimentally and numerically investigated the effect of Re variations on the efficiency and stall mechanisms for a three-stage axial flow compressor. In the experiment, the total pressure ratio, polytropic efficiency, and stalling mass flow rate were measured in a Re range varying from 1,100,000 to 55,000 to elucidate the Re effects. Unsteady three-dimensional numerical simulations were implemented to understand the stall mechanisms. The results indicate that the compressor efficiency and stall–pressure ratio begin to decrease remarkably as Re is reduced below a critical value, which is 220,000 in the case of the compressor studied. At a low Re, losses caused by the secondary flow near the hub and shroud increase remarkably, and the extended boundary layer separations at the blade suction surface further decrease the efficiency. The variation in Re changes the stall-initiated location. At higher Reynolds numbers, the interaction between the corner separation at the hub of stator 1 and the leakage flow through the blade tip gap induces a large vortex, which seriously blocks the blade passage. The blocking effect spreads to the aft stage and extends to higher spans, which results in the stall of the whole compressor. However, the blocking effect at the hub disappears at Re =55,000, and the interaction of the blade boundary layer separation near the shroud of rotor 1 and the tip leakage vortex causes a large blockage and then induces stall. The Re variation changes the radial flow transportation because of the varying effect on the aerodynamic performance of each blade element at different spans. This significantly influences the extent of the vortex near the end wall and ultimately changes the stall mechanisms.

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