Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Theodore H. Okiishi


Experiments were performed on a low-speed multistage axial-flow compressor to assess the effects of shrouded stator cavity flows on aerodynamic performance. Five configurations, which involved changes in seal-tooth leakage rates and/or elimination of the shrouded stator cavities, were tested. Data collected enabled differences in overall, individual stage and the third stage blade element performance parameters to be compared. The results show conclusively that seal-tooth leakage can have a large impact on compressor aerodynamic performance while the presence of the shrouded stator cavities alone seemed to have little influence. Overall performance data revealed that for every 1% increase in the seal-tooth clearance to blade-height ratio the pressure rise dropped up to 3% while efficiency was reduced by 1 to 1.5 points. These observed efficiency penalty slopes are comparable to those commonly reported for rotor and cantilevered stator tip clearance variations. Therefore, it appears that in order to correctly predict overall performance it is equally important to account for the effects of seal-tooth leakage as it is to include the influence of tip clearance flows. Third stage blade element performance data suggested that the performance degradation observed when leakage was increased was brought about in two distinct ways. First, increasing seal-tooth leakage directly spoiled the near hub performance of the stator row in which leakage occurred. Second, the altered stator exit flow conditions caused by increased leakage impaired the performance of the next downstream stage by decreasing the work input of the downstream rotor and increasing total pressure loss of the downstream stator. These trends caused downstream stages to progressively perform worse;Other measurements were acquired to determine spatial and temporal flow field variations within the up-and-downstream shrouded stator cavities. Flow within the cavities involved low momentum fluid traveling primarily in the circumferential direction at about 40% of the hub wheel speed. Measurements indicated that the flow within both cavities was much more complex than first envisioned. A vortical flow structure in the meridional plane, similar to a driven cavity, existed within the upstream cavity. Furthermore, other spatial and temporal variations in flow properties existed, the most prominent being caused by the upstream potential influence of the downstream blade. This influence caused the fluid within cavities near the leading edges of either stator blades in space or rotor blades in time to be driven radially inward relative to fluid near blade mid-pitch. This influence also produced large unsteady velocity fluctuations in the downstream cavity because of the passing of the downstream rotor blade.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Steven Robert Wellborn



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

128 pages