Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 January 2021
The rotating instability in a contra-rotating axial flow compressor is investigated by experiments. Twenty-four pressure sensors were installed on the casing to capture the unsteady flow in the rotor tip region simultaneously. A double-phase-locking technique suitable for the contra-rotating compressor was proposed to characterise the static pressure contours of the rotor tip. The mean and root-mean-square pressure contours indicate that rotating instability occurs before the rotating stall happened, and the rotor tip clearance vortex is located upstream of the rear rotor leading edge plane before stall. Fourier spectrum shows that rotating instability and rotating stall both happened under the stall condition, and the frequency band of rotating instability does not change with the flow rate. In the front rotor, the frequency of rotating instability is half of the blade passing frequency. It is verified that the modal estimation method can be implemented by using the average azimuthal phase velocity, which significantly reduced the number of pressure sensors required. Modal estimation results show that each peak of the rotating instability frequency band corresponds to a unique dominant circumferential mode. By optimising average azimuthal phase velocity, an improved modal estimation method is obtained, which can further improve the reliability of the modal estimation results.