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Low-Cost Rotating Experimentation in Compressor Aerodynamics Using Rapid Prototyping
With the rapid evolution of additive manufacturing, 3D printed parts are no longer limited to display purposes but can also be used in structural applications. The objective of this paper is to show that 3D prototyping can be used to produce low-cost rotating turbomachinery rigs capable of carrying out detailed flow measurements that can be used, among other things, for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code validation. A fully instrumented polymer two-stage axial-mixed flow compressor test rig was designed and fabricated with stereolithography (SLA) technology by a team of undergraduate students as part of a senior-year design course. Experiments were subsequently performed on this rig to obtain both the overall pressure rise characteristics of the compressor and the stagnation pressure distributions downstream of the blade rows for comparison with CFD simulations. In doing so, this work provides a first-of-a-kind assessment of the use of polymer additive technology for low-cost rotating turbomachinery experimentation with detailed measurements.
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