The recent trend in using aerodynamic sweep to improve the performance of transonic blading has been one of the more significant technological evolutions for compression components in turbomachinery. This paper reports on the experimental and analytical assessment of the pay-off derived from both aft and forward sweep technology with respect to aerodynamic performance and stability. The single stage experimental investigation includes two aft-swept rotors with varying degree and type of aerodynamic sweep and one swept forward rotor. On a back-to-back test basis, the results are compared with an unswept rotor with excellent performance and adequate stall margin. Although designed to satisfy identical design speed requirements as the unswept rotor, the experimental results reveal significant variations in efficiency and stall margin with the swept rotors. At design speed, all the swept rotors demonstrated a peak stage efficiency level that was equal to that of the unswept rotor. However, the forward-swept rotor achieved the highest rotor-alone peak efficiency. At the same time, the forward-swept rotor demonstrated a significant improvement in stall margin relative to the already satisfactory level achieved by the unswept rotor. Increasing the level of aft sweep adversely affected the stall margin. A three-dimensional viscous flow analysis was used to assist in the interpretation of the data. The reduced shock/boundary layer interaction, resulting from reduced axial flow diffusion and less accumulation of centrifuged blade surface boundary layer at the up, was identified as the prime contributor to the enhanced performance with forward sweep. The impact of tip clearance on the performance and stability for one of the aft-swept rotors was also assessed.

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