Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Mechanical Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ge-Cheng Zha

Second Committee Member

Weiyong Gu

Third Committee Member

Kaufui Wong

Fourth Committee Member

Brian Haus


The objective of this research is to investigate and confirm the periodicity of the Non-Synchronous Vibration (NSV) mechanism of a GE axial compressor with a full-annulus simulation. A second objective is to develop a high fidelity single-passage tool with time-accurate unsteady capabilities able to capture rotor-stator interactions and NSV excitation response. A high fidelity methodology for axial turbomachinery simulation is developed using the low diffusion shock-capturing Riemann solver with high order schemes, the Spalart-Allmaras turbulence closure model, the fully conservative unsteady sliding BC for rotor-stator interaction with extension to full-annulus and single-passage configurations, and the phase lag boundary conditions applied to rotor-stator interface and circumferential BC. A URANS solver is used and captures the NSV flow excitation frequency of 2439 Hz, which agrees reasonably well with the measured NSV frequency of 2600 Hz from strain gage test data. It is observed that the circumferentially traveling vortex formed in the vicinity of the rotor tip propagates at the speed of a non-engine order frequency and causes the NSV. The vortex travels along the suction surface of the blade and crosses the passage outlet near blade trailing edge. Such a vortex motion trajectory repeats in each blade passage and generates two low pressure regions due to the vortex core positions, one at the leading edge and one at the trailing edge, both are oscillating due to the vortex coming and leaving. These two low pressure regions create a pair of coupling forces that generates a torsion moment causing NSV. The full-annulus simulation shows that the circumferentially traveling vortex has fairly periodical behavior and is a full annulus structure. Also, frequencies below the NSV excitation frequency of 2439 Hz with large amplitudes in response to flow-separation related phenomena are present. This behavior is consistent with experimental measurements. For circumferentially averaged parameters like total pressure ratio, NSV is observed to have an effect, particularly at radial locations above 70% span. Therefore, to achieve similar or better total pressure ratio a design with a smaller loading of the upper blade span and a higher loading of the mid blade spans should be considered. A fully-conservative sliding interface boundary condition (BC) is implemented with phase-lag capabilities using the Direct Store method for single-passage simulations. Also Direct Store phase-lag was applied to the circumferential BCs to enforce longer disturbance wavelengths. The unsteady simulation using single-blade-passage with periodic BC for an inlet guide vane (IGV)-rotor configuration captures a 2291 Hz NSV excitation frequency and an IGV-rotor-stator configuration predicts a 2365 Hz NSV excitation frequency with a significantly higher amplitude above 90\% span. This correlates closely to the predicted NSV excitation frequency of 2439 Hz for the full-annulus configuration. The two-blade-row configuration exhibits the same vortex structures captured in the full-annulus study. The three-blade-row configuration only captures a tip vortex shedding at the leading edge, which can be attributed to the reflective nature of the BCs causing IGV-rotor-stator interactions to be augmented, becoming dominant and shifting NSV excitation response to engine order regime. Phase-lag simulations with a Nodal Diameter (ND) of 5 is enforced for the circumferential BCs for the three-blade-row configuration, and the results exactly matched the frequency response and flow structures of the periodic simulation, illustrating the small effect that phase-lag has on strongly periodic flow disturbances. A ND of 7 is enforced at the sliding interface, however the NSV excitation completely disappears and only the wake propagation from IGV-Rotor-Stator interactions are captured. Rotor blade passage exhibits a circumferentially travelling vortex similar to those observed in the full-annulus and two-blade-row simulations. This can occur when the rotating instability responsible for the NSV no longer maintains a pressure variation with a characteristic frequency signature as it rotates relative to the rotor rotation, and now has become the beginning of a spike-type stall cell. In this scenario the travelling vortex has become evidence of part-stall of the upper spans of the rotor blade, but stalling is contained maintaining stable operation. In conclusion, an efficient method of capturing NSV excitation has been proposed in a high-fidelity manner, where only 2% of the computational resources used in a full-annulus simulation are required for an accurate single-blade-passage multi-stage simulation.


Non-Synchronous Vibration; Turbomachinery; Axial Compressor; Full Annulus; Single Passage