This paper addresses the significant differences in compressor rotor wake mixing loss which exist in a stage environment relative to a rotor in isolation. The wake decay for a rotor in isolation is due solely to viscous dissipation which is an irreversible process and thus leads to a loss in both total pressure and efficiency. Rotor wake decay in the stage environment is due to both viscous mixing and the inviscid strain imposed on the wake fluid particles by the stator velocity field. This straining process, referred to by Smith (1993) as recovery, is reversible and for a 2D rotor wake leads to an inviscid reduction of the velocity deficit of the wake. It will be shown that for the rotor/stator spacing typical of core compressors, wake stretching is the dominant wake decay process within the stator with viscous mixing playing a secondary role.
A model for the rotor wake decay process is developed and used to quantify the viscous dissipation effects relative to those of inviscid wake stretching. The model is verified using laser anemometer measurements acquired in the wake of a transonic rotor operated in isolation and in a stage configuration at near peak efficiency and near stall operating conditions. Additional insight is provided by a time-accurate 3D Navier Stokes simulation of the compressor stator flow field at the corresponding stage loading levels. Results from the wake decay model exhibit good agreement with the experimental data. Data from the model, laser anemometer measurements, and simulations indicate that wake straining (stretching) is the primary decay process in the stator passage. The implications of these results on compressor stage design are discussed.