Experimental and numerical investigations were carried out to gain a better understanding or the flow characteristics within an annular S-shaped duct, including the influence of the shape of the downstream passage located at the exit of the duct on the flow. A duct with six struts and the same geometry as that used to connect the compressor spools on our new experimental small two-spool turbofan engine was investigated. Two types of downstream passage were used. One type had a straight annular passage and the other a curved annular passage with a similar meridional flow path geometry to that of the centrifugal compressor.
Results showed that the total pressure loss near the hub is large due to instability of the flow, as compared with that near the casing. Also, a vortex related to the horseshoe vortex was observed near the casing, in the case of the curved annular passage, the total pressure loss near the hub was greatly increased compared with the case of the straight annular passage, and the spatial position of the above vortex depends on the passage core pressure gradient. Furthermore, results of calculation using an in-house-developed three-dimensional Navier-Stokes code with a low Reynolds number k-ε turbulence model were in good qualitative agreement with experimental results. According to the simulation results, a region of very high pressure loss is observed near the hub at the duct exit with the increase of inlet boundary layer thickness. Such regions of high pressure loss may act on the downstream compressor as a large inlet distortion, and strongly affect downstream compressor performance.