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The flow in the heated rotating cavity of an aero-engine compressor is driven by buoyancy forces, which result in pairs of cyclonic and anticyclonic vortices. The resultant cavity flow field is three-dimensional, unsteady, and unstable, which makes it challenging to model the flow and heat transfer. In this paper, properties of the vortex structures are determined from novel unsteady pressure measurements collected on the rotating disk surface over a range of engine-representative parameters. These measurements are the first of their kind with practical significance to the engine designer and for validation of computational fluid dynamics. One cyclonic/anticyclonic vortex pair was detected over the experimental range, despite the measurement of harmonic modes in the frequency spectra at low Rossby numbers. It is shown that these modes were caused by unequal size vortices, with the cyclonic vortex the larger of the pair. The structures slipped relative to the disks at a speed typically around 10%-15% of that of the rotor, but the speed of precession was often unsteady. The coherency, strength, and slip of the vortex pair increased with the buoyancy parameter, due to the stronger buoyancy forces, but they were largely independent of the rotational Reynolds number.

Original languageEnglish
Article number041017
JournalJournal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power: Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
Early online date3 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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