This paper investigates the results of a frequency analysis performed on the blades of the last three compressor stages of two different gas turbines (Case A and B). The axial compressors in A and B have ten and eleven stages, respectively. The studied stages have identical number of blades in both compressors. However turbine B has higher number of upstream vanes before each rotating stage. Turbine B is actually a modified version of A with higher power output. The manufacturer provides acceptable ranges for several natural frequencies of blades of stage No.8 to 10 in case A. One of the purposes of this study is to figure out the logic behind the abovementioned ranges.
FEM has been used in order to determine the natural frequencies of a single blade (for Campbell diagram) and bladed disk (for SAFE diagram). By surveying the results of the Campbell diagrams for blades of case A’s mentioned stages, it is concluded that the manufacturer has obtained the acceptable ranges by considering a 10% difference (at least) between single blade natural frequencies and excitation frequencies (upstream vane passage frequencies (VPF)).
On the other hand, according to Campbell diagram, there is no resonance for these blades within the operational speed while SAFE diagrams show the existence of one resonance mode within the same range. The reason of this contradiction is found to be ignoring the disk stiffness effect on the blades frequencies. A same procedure was also followed to study the critical frequencies of the blades of the last three stages of turbine B’s compressor by SAFE diagrams.
By checking the critical modes, it is concluded that these modes in case B are transferred to one or two modes higher in comparison to A which results in a much better vibrational behavior. This has been acquired by increasing the number of the upstream vanes.
In addition, in case A’s compressor, the blades of the stage No.10 have been designed with far thicker airfoils (approximately 50%) when compared to stage No.8 and 9, even though their other dimensions are almost identical. But, this fault has been corrected in turbine B and the airfoils of all three stages almost have the same thickness. To sum up, although the design of mentioned blades in turbine B looks better and more logical than A, still a more precise look at its stages bladed disk SAFE diagrams reveals another issue. In some references there are some hints that low number of critical nodal diameter (veering region) might cause high level of blade vibration due to mistuning and this means that even in turbine B the design might not be optimal. A cure could be an increase or decrease in the number of upstream vanes in order to have a higher critical nodal diameter.