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Experimental analysis of the unsteady flow and instabilities in a high-speed multistage compressor

Abstract : The present work is a result of collaboration between the LMFA (Laboratoire de Mécanique des Fluides et d’Acoustique, Ecole Centrale de Lyon – France), Snecma and the Cerfacs. It aims at studying the flow in the 3.5-stages high-speed axial compressor CREATE (Compresseur de Recherche pour l’Etude des effets Aérodynamique et TEchnologique - rotation speed: 11543 RPM, Rotor 1 tip speed: 313 m/s), designed and built by Snecma and investigated at LMFA on a 2-MW test rig. Steady measurements, as well as laser velocimetry, fast-response wall static and total pressure measurements have been used to experimentally investigate the flow. The analysis focuses on two main aspects: the study of the flow at stable operating points, with a special interest on the rotor-stator interactions, and the study of the instabilities arising in the machine at low mass flow rates.The description of the unsteady flow field at stable operating points is done through measurements of wall-static pressure, total pressure and velocity, but also total temperature, entropy and angle of the fluid. It is shown that the complexity and unsteadiness of the flow in a multistage compressor strongly increases in the rear part of the machine, because of the interactions between steady and rotating rows. Therefore, a modal analysis method developed at LMFA and based on the decomposition of Tyler and Sofrin is presented to analyze these interactions. It is first applied to the pressure measurements, in order to extract the contributions of each row. It shows that all the complex pressure interactions in CREATE can be reduced to three main types of interactions. The decomposition method is then applied to the entropy field extracted from URANS CFD calculations performed by the Cerfacs, in order to evaluate the impact of the interactions on the performance of the machine in term of production of losses.The last part of this work is devoted to the analysis of the instabilities arising in CREATE at low mass flows. It shows that rotating pressure waves appear at stable operating points, and increase in amplitude when going towards the surge line, until reaching a critical size provoking the onset a full span stall cell bringing the machine to surge within a few rotor revolutions. The study of these pressure waves, and the understanding of their true nature is achieved through the experimental results and the use of some analytical models. A precise description of the surge transient through wall-static pressure measurements above the rotors is also provided, as well as a description of a complete surge cycle. An anti-surge control system based on the detection of the amplitude of the pressure waves is finally proposed.
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Nicolas Courtiade. Experimental analysis of the unsteady flow and instabilities in a high-speed multistage compressor. Other. Ecole Centrale de Lyon, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012ECDL0044⟩. ⟨tel-00838695⟩

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