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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2016, Article ID 8518904, 10 pages
Research Article

Low-Cost Rotating Experimentation in Compressor Aerodynamics Using Rapid Prototyping

Department of Mechanical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Campus UdeM, 2900 Boulevard Édouard-Montpetit, 2500 Chemin de Polytechnique, Office C318.9, Montréal, QC, H3T 1J4, Canada

Received 7 November 2015; Revised 8 January 2016; Accepted 20 January 2016

Academic Editor: Jechin Han

Copyright © 2016 Mathias Michaud et al. 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.


With the rapid evolution of additive manufacturing, 3D printed parts are no longer limited to display purposes but can also be used in structural applications. The objective of this paper is to show that 3D prototyping can be used to produce low-cost rotating turbomachinery rigs capable of carrying out detailed flow measurements that can be used, among other things, for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code validation. A fully instrumented polymer two-stage axial-mixed flow compressor test rig was designed and fabricated with stereolithography (SLA) technology by a team of undergraduate students as part of a senior-year design course. Experiments were subsequently performed on this rig to obtain both the overall pressure rise characteristics of the compressor and the stagnation pressure distributions downstream of the blade rows for comparison with CFD simulations. In doing so, this work provides a first-of-a-kind assessment of the use of polymer additive technology for low-cost rotating turbomachinery experimentation with detailed measurements.