Understanding distortion transfer and generation through fan and compressor blade rows is able to assist in blade design and performance prediction. Using full annulus unsteady RANS simulations, the effects of distortion as it passes through the rotor of a transonic fan at five radial locations (10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 90% span) are analyzed. The inlet distortion profile is a 90-degree sector with a 15% total pressure deficit. Fourier distortion descriptors are used in this study to quantitatively describe distortion transfer and generation. Results are presented and compared for three operating points (near-stall, design, and choke). These results are used to explain the relationship between inlet total pressure distortion, pressure-induced swirl, total pressure distortion transfer, total temperature distortion generation, and circumferential rotor work variation. It is shown that very large changes in pressure-induced swirl and distortion transfer and generation occur between near-stall and design, but only small changes are seen between design and choke. The greatest changes are shown to be near the tip. Local power variations are shown to correlate with total pressure distortion transfer and total temperature distortion generation.It can be difficult to predict the transfer of distortion through a fan or compressor because traditional experimental and computational methods are very expensive and time consuming. The Harmonic Balance approach is a promising alternative which uses Fourier techniques to represent fluid flow solutions and which can provide unsteady solutions much more quickly than traditional unsteady solvers. Relatively little work has been done to assess how much Fourier information is necessary to calculate a sufficiently accurate solution with the Harmonic Balance Solver. A study is performed to analyze the effects of varying the amount of modal content that is used in Harmonic Balance simulations. Inlet distortion profiles with varying magnitudes are used in order to analyze trends and provide insight into the distortion flow physics for various inlet conditions. The geometry is a single stage axial compressor that consists of an inlet guide vane followed by the NASA Stage 37 rotor. It is shown that simulations with greater magnitudes of distortion require more modal content in order to achieve sufficiently accurate results. Harmonic Balance simulations are shown to have significantly lower computational costs than simulations with a conventional unsteady solver.



College and Department

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

Date Submitted


Document Type





distortion, URANS, harmonic balance, Fourier, modes, efficiency, pressure ratio, work, power, swirl, operating point, stall, choke