Development of a three-dimensional multistage inverse design method for aerodynamic matching of axial compressor blading

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


T. Q. Dang


Aerodynamic matching, Axial compressor, Blading, Turbomachinery

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Current turbomachinery design systems increasingly rely on multistage Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) as a means to assess performance of designs. However, design weaknesses attributed to improper stage matching are addressed using often ineffective strategies involving a costly iterative loop between blading modification, revision of design intent, and evaluation of aerodynamic performance.

A design methodology is presented which greatly improves the process of achieving design-point aerodynamic matching. It is based on a three-dimensional viscous inverse design method which generates the blade camber surface based on prescribed pressure loading, thickness distribution and stacking line. This inverse design method has been extended to allow blading analysis and design in a multi-blade row environment. Blade row coupling was achieved through a mixing plane approximation. Parallel computing capability in the form of MPI has been implemented to reduce the computational time for multistage calculations.

Improvements have been made to the flow solver to reach the level of accuracy required for multistage calculations. These include inclusion of heat flux, temperature-dependent treatment of viscosity, and improved calculation of stress components and artificial dissipation near solid walls. A validation study confirmed that the obtained accuracy is satisfactory at design point conditions.

Improvements have also been made to the inverse method to increase robustness and design fidelity. These include the possibility to exclude spanwise sections of the blade near the endwalls from the design process, and a scheme that adjusts the specified loading area for changes resulting from the leading and trailing edge treatment. Furthermore, a pressure loading manager has been developed. Its function is to automatically adjust the pressure loading area distribution during the design calculation in order to achieve a specified design objective. Possible objectives are overall mass flow and compression ratio, and radial distribution of exit flow angle. To supplement the loading manager, mass flow inlet and exit boundary conditions have been implemented. Through appropriate combination of pressure or mass flow inflow/outflow boundary conditions and loading manager objectives, increased control over the design intent can be obtained.

The three-dimensional multistage inverse design method with pressure loading manager was demonstrated to offer greatly enhanced blade row matching capabilities. Multistage design allows for simultaneous design of blade rows in a mutually interacting environment, which permits the redesigned blading to adapt to changing aerodynamic conditions resulting from the redesign. This ensures that the obtained blading geometry and performance implied by the prescribed pressure loading distribution are consistent with operation in the multi-blade row environment. The developed methodology offers high aerodynamic design quality and productivity, and constitutes a significant improvement over existing approaches used to address design-point aerodynamic matching.


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