Multiple high-fidelity, time-accurate computational fluid dynamics simulations were performed to investigate the effects of upstream stator loading and rotor shock strength on vortex shedding characteristics in a single stage transonic compressor. Various configurations of a transonic axial compressor stage, including three stator/rotor axial spacings of close, mid, and far in conjunction with three stator loadings of decreased, nominal, and increased were simulated in order to understand the flow physics of transonic blade-row interactions. Low-speed compressors typically have reduced stator/rotor axial spacing in order to decrease engine weight, and also because there is an increase in efficiency with reduced axial spacing. The presence of a rotor bow shock in high-speed compressors causes additional losses as the shock interacts with the upstream stator trailing edge. This research analyzes the strength of shock-induced vortices due to these unsteady blade-row interactions. The time-accurate URANS code, TURBO, was used to generate periodic, quarter annulus simulations of the Blade Row Interaction compressor rig. Both time-averaged and time-accurate results compare well with experimentally-observed trends. It was observed that vortex shedding was synchronized to the passing of a rotor bow shock. Normal and large shock-induced vortices formed on the stator trailing edge immediately after the shock passing, but the large vortices were strengthened at the trailing edge due to a low-velocity region on the suction surface. This low velocity region was generated upstream of mid-chord on the suction surface from a shock-induced thickening of the boundary layer or separation bubble, due to the rotor bow shock reflecting off the stator trailing edge and propagating upstream. The circulation of the shock-induced vortices increased with shock strength (decreased axial spacing) and stator loading. Most design tools do not directly account for unsteady effects such as blade-row interactions, so a model is developed to help designers account for shock-induced vortex strength with varying shock strength and stator loading. An understanding of the unsteady interactions associated with blade loading and rotor shock strength in transonic stages will help compressor designers account for unsteady flow physics early in the design process.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





Kenneth Clark, turbomachinery, gas turbine engines, transonic compressor, blade row interactions, vortex shedding, stator loading, suction side boundary layer, circulation