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Title: Embedded blade row flutter
Author: Zhao, Fanzhou
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 5706
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2017
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Modern gas turbine design continues to drive towards improved performance, reduced weight and reduced cost. This trend of aero-engine design results in thinned blade aerofoils which are more prone to aeroelastic problems such as flutter. Whilst extensive work has been conducted to study the flutter of isolated turbomachinery blades, the number of research concerning the unsteady interactions between the blade vibration, the resulting acoustic reflections and flutter is very limited. In this thesis, the flutter of such embedded blade rows is studied to gain understanding as for why and how such interactions can result in flutter. It is shown that this type of flutter instability can occur for single stage fan blades and multi-stage core compressors. Unsteady CFD computations are carried out to study the influence of acoustic reflections from the intake on flutter of a fan blade. It is shown that the accurate prediction of flutter boundary for a fan blade requires modelling of the intake. Different intakes can produce different flutter boundaries for the same fan blade and the resulting flutter boundary is a function of the intake geometry in front of it. The above finding, which has also been demonstrated experimentally, is a result of acoustic reflections from the intake. Through in-depth post-processing of the results obtained from wave-splitting of the unsteady CFD solutions, the relationship between the phase and amplitude of the reflected acoustic waves and flutter stability of the blade is established. By using an analytical approach to calculate the propagation and reflection of acoustic waves in the intake, a novel low- fidelity model capable of evaluating the susceptibility of a fan blade to flutter is proposed. The proposed model works in a similar fashion to the Campbell diagram, which allows one to identify the region (in compressor map) where flutter is likely to occur at early design stages of an engine. In the second part of this thesis, the influence of acoustic reflections from adjacent blade rows on flutter stability of an embedded rotor in a multi-stage compressor is studied using unsteady CFD computations. It is shown that reflections of acoustic waves, generated by the rotor blade vibration, from the adjacent blade rows have a significant impact on the flutter stability of the embedded rotor, and the computations using the isolated rotor can lead to significant over-optimistic predictions of the flutter boundary. Based on the understanding gained, an alternative strategy, aiming to reduce the computational cost, for the flutter analysis of such embedded blades is proposed. The method works by modelling the propagation and reflection of acoustic waves at the adjacent blade rows using an analytical method, whereby flutter computations of the embedded rotor can be performed in an isolated fashion by imposing the calculated reflected waves as unsteady plane sources. Computations using the proposed model can lead to two orders of magnitude reduction in computational cost compared with time domain full annulus multi-row computations. The computed results using the developed low-fidelity model show good correlation with the results obtained using full annulus multi-row models.
Supervisor: Vahdati, Mehdi ; Hoffmann, Norbert Sponsor: Rolls-Royce plc
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral