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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 10 (2004), Issue 5, Pages 401-413

Experimental Investigation of the Periodic Unsteady Transonic Flow Field Around a Compressor Blade by Means of Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV)

A. Lehr1,3 and A. Bölcs2

1TRUMPF Maschinen AG, Baar, Switzerland
2Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
3MTS Machinery Tools & Services AG, Willikonerstr. P.O. Box, Oetwil am See, CH-8618, Switzerland

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the present article, a study of the time-dependent transonic flow field around an isolated airfoil in a Laval nozzle is presented. In order to obtain instantaneous flow field information all over the flow around the blade, the Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) method has been employed allowing one to obtain velocity data in an illuminated light sheet with a high data acquisition rate and high spatial resolution. From these instantaneous PIV measurements the mean velocity field and turbulence quantities of the flow easily can be obtained by statistical means.

A single compressor blade with a NACA 3506 profile and a chord length of 78 mm is centrally mounted in the test section. A vibration system driven by a hydraulic motor is externally attached to the blade. The rotational motion of the motor is translated to a plunging blade vibration perpendicular to the chord via an eccentric shaft and connecting arm. The vibration frequency can be varied between 0 and 100 Hz, and the average amplitude is approximately 0.4 mm. The entire blade-motor assembly is mounted to the tunnel sidewall via a circular disc to allow easy adjustment of the inlet flow incidence angle. The exit pressure of the nozzle can be varied by a rotating flat plate (15 mm high, 39 mm wide, and 2 mm thick) that is mounted approximately 5 times the chord length downstream of the blade mid-chord. The rotational frequency of this assembly can be varied between 0 and 100 Hz, producing upstream-running waves at the doubled frequency (i.e., 0 to 200 Hz). The above excitation systems can be precisely synchronized and the phase lag between them can be freely varied. This allows for unsteady measurements to be conducted in the presence of only the downstream perturbation, only the blade vibration, or a combination of the two for different phase angles.

For the first test series the existing PIV measurement system at Turbomachinery Institute (LTT) has been applied to measure the transonic steady flow field around the compressor blade. In another test series, measurements of the time-dependent periodic flow field were conducted by means of PIV. This measurement series consisted of three subtasks: the measurement of the unsteady flow field with only back pressure variation, with only blade vibration, and finally with a combination of both back pressure variation and blade vibration. These results quantify not only the unsteady motion of the normal shock for each case on the suction side of the blade, but also give a detailed insight into the instantaneous transonic flow field around the compressor blade. Furthermore, the results of the set of unsteady measurements with both back pressure variation and blade vibration (3) is compared with the combination of the results of the sets of unsteady measurements of only back pressure variation (1) and only blade vibration (2) to validate the superposition principle.

Finally, phase averaging of the instantaneous flowquantities produced a large database for statistical treatment (e.g., turbulence) and thus the ability to compare the averaged results with those from traditional measurement techniques.