Active control of fan noise and vortex shedding

Yee-Jun Wong

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] The subject of fan noise generating mechanisms and its control has been studied intensively over the past few decades as a result of the ever-increasing demand for more powerful fans. A unique feature of fan noise is that it consists of high-level discrete frequency noise related to the blade passing frequency, and low-level broadband noise due mostly to turbulent airflow around the fan. Of the two types of fan noise, the discrete frequency noise is the more psychologically annoying component. Past research into fan noise has shown that the discrete frequency fan noise are dipole in nature and are caused predominantly by the fluctuating lift acting on the surfaces of the fan blades. Based on this, several theoretical models have been established to correlate these fluctuating lift forces to the far-field sound pressure. However, one general assumption in these models is that the fan blades are assumed rigid, and the consequence of such an assumption is that it is unclear if the far-field sound pressure is caused solely by the aerodynamic lift force, or whether the blade vibration also plays a substantial role in the generation of the far-field fan noise. One of the goal of this thesis was thus to experimentally quantify the contribution of blade vibration to far-field fan noise and it was found that blade vibration, whilst coherent with the far-field fan noise, did not contribute significantly. Aside of this, several experiments aimed at filling knowledge gaps in the understanding of fan noise characteristics were also be conducted, in particular, to understand the relationship between far-field sound pressure level to blade lengths as well as the number of blades on the fan. The experiments showed that for fans with many blades, the dependency of the far-field sound pressure on blade length is stronger than fans with less blades. Furthermore, dipole measurements showed that the dipole characteristics of fan noise does not occur only at the discrete frequencies, but also within a range of broadband frequencies, implying that the source for both discrete and broadband is the same. The second section of this thesis deals with the study of vortex shedding and its active control. When a circular cylinder (or any object) is placed in a flow within a specified Reynolds number range, flow separation and periodical wake motion is formed behind the cylinder, which is known as vortex shedding. It has been found in previous research that this wake motion is affected by acoustic field imposed on it via loudspeakers. This suggests that there is a strong acoustic-vortex relationship. However, little of this relationship is understood as conventional methods of studying vortex centre around the use of hot-wire anemometry, which effectively measures the velocity fluctuation in the flow. This thesis is the first in using a microphone to study the acoustic characteristic of the vortex wake, and experimental results shows that the two parallel shear layers of the wake carry the strongest pressure signals at the vortex shedding frequency, whilst the entrapped region between the layers carries the strongest pressure signals at the first harmonic.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2004


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