Characterization of distortion transfer and generation through fans with distorted inlet conditions enables progress towards designs with improved distortion tolerance. The abruptness of transition from undistorted to distorted total pressure regions at the inlet impacts the induced swirl profile and therefore the distortion transfer and generation. These impacts are characterized using URANS simulations of PBS Rotor 4 geometry under a variety of inlet distortion profiles. A 90° and a 135° sector, both of 15% total pressure distortion, are considered. Variants of each sector size, with decreasing levels of distortion transition abruptness, are each applied to the fan. Fourier-based distortion descriptors are used to quantify levels of distortion transfer and generation at axial locations through the fan, principally at the stator inlet. It is shown that a gradual transition in distortion at the inlet results in decreased levels of distortion transfer and generation. The flow physics resulting in this reduction are explored. URANS simulations involving turbomachinery are complex and often require simplifying assumptions to balance computational costs with accuracy. One assumption removes the need for a nozzle to control nozzle operation condition and replaces it with a static pressure boundary condition located at the stator exit. This assumption is challenged by conducting a series of distorted inlet simulations with a nozzle, which are then compared to a corresponding set of simulations conducted using the exit boundary assumption. Performance parameters for each set of simulations are compared. Performance was observed to be within 1% difference between the two methods, supporting the assumption that a static pressure boundary is adequate for controlling inlet distortion simulations. Finally, full annulus URANS simulations are presented to investigate distortion phase shift in a single stage transonic fan. The fan is subject to a 90° sector inlet total pressure distortion. Simulation results are presented for choke, design, and near-stall operating conditions. Circumferential profiles of swirl, total pressure, total temperature, power, and phase shift are analyzed at 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, and 90% span. Several metrics for phase shift, which is a measure of the rotational translation of a distortion profile, are presented and compared. Each aims to assist understanding the translational motion of distortion as it passes through the fan. The different metrics used for phase shift are used to analyze distortion phase. Insights from each are presented alongside limitations for each method. A combination of methods is proposed to address their respective limitations.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





distortion, URANS, nozzle, phase shift, swirl