2011 Volume 53 Issue 182 Pages 267-274
A 3D numerical simulation was conducted to study the effect of inlet boundary layer thickness on rotating stall in an axial compressor. The inlet boundary layer thickness had significant effects on the hub-corner-separation at the corner of hub and suction surfaces. The hub-corner-separation grew considerably for a thick inlet boundary layer as the load increased, while it diminished to become indistinguishable from the rotor wake for a thin inlet boundary layer and another corner-separation originated near the casing. This difference in the internal flow near stall also had a large effect on characteristics of the rotating stall, especially the initial asymmetric disturbance and the size of stall cells. While a pre-stall disturbance arises firstly in the hub-corner-separation for the thick inlet boundary layer, an asymmetric disturbance was initially generated in the tip region because of the corner-separation for the thin inlet boundary layer. This disturbance was transferred to the tip leakage flow and grew to become an attached stall cell, which adheres to the blade passage and rotates at the same speed as the rotor. When this attached stall cell reached a critical size, it started moving along the blade row and became a short-length-scale rotating stall. The size of the stall cell for the thick inlet boundary layer was larger than for the thin inlet boundary layer. Due to the bigger size of the stall cell, the performance of the single rotor for the former case dropped more significantly than for the latter case.