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Computational and Experimental Analysis of Flow Field in the Diffusers of Centrifugal Compressors
Turunen-Saaresti, Teemu (2004-11-26)
Acta Universitatis LappeenrantaensisURN:ISSN:1456-4491
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Centrifugal compressors are widely used for example in process industry, oil and gas industry, in small gas turbines and turbochargers. In order to achieve lower consumption of energy and operation costs the efficiency of the compressor needs to be improve. In the present work different pinches and low solidity vaned diffusers were utilized in order to improve the efficiency of a medium size centrifugal compressor. In this study, pinch means the decrement of the diffuser flow passage height. First different geometries were analyzed using computational fluid dynamics. The flow solver Finflo was used to solve the flow field. Finflo is a Navier-Stokes solver. The solver is capable to solve compressible, incompressible, steady and unsteady flow fields. Chien's k-e turbulence model was used. One of the numerically investigated pinched diffuser and one low solidity vaned diffuser were studied experimentally. The overall performance of the compressor and the static pressure distribution before and after the diffuser were measured. The flow entering and leaving the diffuser was measured using a three-hole Cobra-probe and Kiel-probes. The pinch and the low solidity vaned diffuser increased the efficiency of the compressor. Highest isentropic efficiency increment obtained was 3\% of the design isentropic efficiency of the original geometry. It was noticed in the numerical results that the pinch made to the hub and the shroud wall was most beneficial to the operation of the compressor. Also the pinch made to the hub was better than the pinchmade to the shroud. The pinch did not affect the operation range of the compressor, but the low solidity vaned diffuser slightly decreased the operation range.The unsteady phenomena in the vaneless diffuser were studied experimentally andnumerically. The unsteady static pressure was measured at the diffuser inlet and outlet, and time-accurate numerical simulation was conducted. The unsteady static pressure showed that most of the pressure variations lay at the passing frequency of every second blade. The pressure variations did not vanish in the diffuser and were visible at the diffuser outlet. However, the amplitude of the pressure variations decreased in the diffuser. The time-accurate calculations showed quite a good agreement with the measured data. Agreement was very good at the design operation point, even though the computational grid was not dense enough inthe volute and in the exit cone. The time-accurate calculation over-predicted the amplitude of the pressure variations at high flow.
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