Multi-scale nature of non-blade-order propagating flow disturbances in axial compressors

Hao Wang, Yan'gang Wang, Hanru Liu, Fei Xue, Zhong-Nan Wang

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Non-blade-order flow disturbances, also referred to as pre-stall disturbances or tip flow unsteadiness, are closely related with compressor instabilities. The present work provides a comprehensive investigation on multi-scale nature of non-blade-order disturbances and the underlying flow physics in axial compressors. By applying full-annulus Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations, along with space–time correlation and spatial Fourier decomposition, to the disturbed pressure, the propagating feature of the non-blade-order disturbances is obtained. Further, a bridge between non-blade-order disturbances and the evolution of unsteady vortex has been set up. The results show that non-blade-order disturbances, featured as short-length-scale (35 modes across annulus), first appear as the occurrence of tip leakage vortex fluctuation, while the compressor still operates far from stall. Leading-edge radial vortex appears at near stall condition, and its movement induces a circumferential propagating disturbance overlaying on the one induced by oscillating tip leakage vortex. The interaction of the short-scale disturbances with a low-amplitude long-scale (of circumference) disturbance is observed, which results in disturbances with multiple scales of consecutive spatial modes, along with multiple frequency peaks in spectra. The compressor falls into stall as the circumferential nonuniform scattering of the leading-edge vortexes occurs. The densely- and sparsely-scattered leading-edge radial vortexes induce a high-amplitude long-scale (of circumference) disturbance, i.e. stall disturbance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalChinese Journal of Aeronautics
Issue number9
Early online date16 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Axial compressors
  • Flow instabilities
  • Multi-scale disturbances
  • Stall
  • Unsteady flow


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