Inlet swirl distortion has become a major area of concern in the gas turbine engine community. Gas turbine engines are increasingly installed with more complicated and tortuous inlet systems, like those found on embedded installations on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). These inlet systems can produce complex swirl patterns in addition to total pressure distortion. The effect of swirl distortion on engine or compressor performance and operability must be evaluated. The gas turbine community is developing methodologies to measure and characterize swirl distortion. There is a strong need to develop a database containing the impact of a range of swirl distortion patterns on a compressor performance and operability. A recent paper presented by the authors described a versatile swirl distortion generator system that produced a wide range of swirl distortion patterns of a prescribed strength, including bulk swirl, twin swirl and offset swirl. The design of these swirl generators greatly improved the understanding of the formation of swirl. The next step of this process is to understand the effect of swirl on compressor performance. A previously published paper by the authors used parallel compressor analysis to map out different speed lines that resulted from different types of swirl distortion. For the study described in this paper, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model is used to couple upstream swirl generator geometry to a single stage of an axial compressor in order to generate a family of compressor speed lines. The complex geometry of the analyzed swirl generators requires that the full 360° compressor be included in the CFD model. A full compressor can be modeled several ways in a CFD analysis, including sliding mesh and frozen rotor techniques. For a single operating condition, a study was conducted using both of these techniques to determine the best method given the large size of the CFD model and the number of data points that needed to be run to generate speed lines. This study compared the CFD results for the undistorted compressor at 100% speed to comparable test data. Results of this study indicated that the frozen rotor approach provided just as accurate results as the sliding mesh but with a greatly reduced cycle time. Once the CFD approach was calibrated, the same techniques were used to determine compressor performance and operability when a full range of swirl distortion patterns were generated by upstream swirl generators. The compressor speed line shift due to co-rotating and counter-rotating bulk swirl resulted in a predictable performance and operability shift. Of particular importance is the compressor performance and operability resulting from an exposure to a set of paired swirl distortions. The CFD generated speed lines follow similar trends to those produced by parallel compressor analysis.
Compressor Performance and Operability in Swirl Distortion
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Sheoran, Y, Bouldin, B, & Krishnan, PM. "Compressor Performance and Operability in Swirl Distortion." Proceedings of the ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air. Volume 7: Turbomachinery, Parts A, B, and C. Glasgow, UK. June 14–18, 2010. pp. 2453-2464. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/GT2010-22777
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