Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Sanford Fleeter

Committee Chair

Sanford Fleeter

Committee Member 1

Gregory A. Blaisdell

Committee Member 2

John S. Bolton

Committee Member 3

Jun Chen


Turbomachinery flow fields are inherently unsteady and complex which makes the related CFD analyses computationally intensive. Physically based preliminary design tools are desirable for parametric studies early in the design stage, and to provide deep physical insight and a good starting point for the later CFD analyses. Four analytical/semi-analytical models are developed in this study: 1) a generalized flat plate cascade model for investigating the unsteady aerodynamics of a blade row with non-uniformly spaced blades; 2) a multistage interaction model for investigating rotor-stator interactions; 3) an analytical solution for quantifying the impeller wake convection and pressure wave propagating between a centrifugal compressor impeller and diffuser vane; and 4) a semi-analytical model based Lifting line theory for unified propeller and horizontal-axis turbine optimization. Each model has been thoroughly validated with existing models.

With these models, non-uniformly spaced blade rows and vane clocking are investigated in detail for their potential use as a passive control technique to reduce forced response, flutter and aeroacoustic problems in axial compressors. Parametric studies with different impeller blade numbers and back sweep angles are conducted to investigate their effect on impeller wake and pressure wave propagation. Results show that the scattered pressure waves with high circumferential wave numbers may be an important excitation source to the impeller as their amplitude grows much faster as they travel inwardly than the lower order primary pressure waves. Detailed analysis of Lifting line theory reveals the mathematical and physical equivalence of Lifting line models for propellers and horizontal-axis turbines. With a new implementation, the propeller optimization code can be used for horizontal-axis turbine optimization without any modification. The newly developed unified propeller and horizontal-axis turbine optimization code based on lifting line theory and interior point method has been shown to be a very versatile tool with the capability of hub modelling, working with non-uniform inflow and including extra user specified constraints.