Three-dimensional turbulent flow of the tip leakage vortex in a single-stage axial compressor rotor passage is studied using a 3-Component Laser Doppler Velocimetry. The measurement results indicate that the tip leakage vortex originates at about 10% axial chord, 8% pitch away from the suction surface, and becomes strongest at about 30% chord.
With the flow downstream, the vortex core moves toward the pressure surface and to a lower radial location, leading to substantial flow mixing, blockage and turbulence in the tip region. The radial component of turbulence intensities is found to be the highest while the axial-radial component of Reynolds stresses is the largest.
Breakdown of the leakage vortex occurs inside the rear rotor passage, which makes the flow more turbulent in a wider region downstream. This viewpoint is confirmed by the measurements of unsteady static pressure on the casing wall.
Breakdown of a leakage vortex is observed clearly in a compressor cascade with a small clearance. Unsteady interactions of the broken vorticities and the suction surface’s boundary layer are shown obviously inside the downstream passage.