A single-stage transonic axial compressor was equipped with a casing treatment (CT), consisting of 3.5 axial slots per rotor pitch in order to investigate the predicted extension of the stall margin characteristics both numerically and experimentally. Contrary to most other studies, the CT was designed especially accounting for an optimized optical access in the immediate vicinity of the CT, rather than giving maximum benefit in terms of stall margin extension. Part I of this two-part contribution describes the experimental investigation of the blade tip interaction with casing treatment using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The nearly rectangular geometry of the CT cavities allowed a portion of it to be made of quartz glass with curvatures matching the casing. Thus, the flow phenomena could be observed with essentially no disturbance caused by the optical access. Two periscope light sheet probes were specifically designed for this application to allow for precise alignment of the laser light sheet at three different radial positions in the rotor passage (87.5%, 95%, and 99%). For the outermost radial position, the light sheet probe was placed behind the rotor and aligned to pass the light sheet through the blade tip clearance. It was demonstrated that the PIV technique is capable of providing velocity information of high quality even in the tip clearance region of the rotor blades. The chosen type of smoke-based seeding with very small particles (about $0.5 μm$ in diameter) supported data evaluation with high spatial resolution, resulting in a final grid size of $0.5×0.5 mm2$. The PIV database established in this project forms the basis for further detailed evaluations of the flow phenomena present in the transonic compressor stage with CT and allows validation of accompanying computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations using the TRACE code. Based on the combined results of PIV measurements and CFD calculations of the same compressor and CT geometry, a better understanding of the complex flow characteristics can be achieved, as detailed in Part II of this paper.

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