Research Papers

An Investigation of Centrifugal Compressor Stability Enhancement Using a Novel Vaned Diffuser Recirculation Technique

[+] Author and Article Information
Lee Galloway, Sung In Kim

School of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
Queen's University Belfast,
Belfast BT9 5AH, UK

Daniel Rusch, Klemens Vogel, René Hunziker

ABB Turbo Systems Ltd.,
Baden 5401, Switzerland

Stephen Spence

School of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
Queen's University Belfast,
Belfast BT9 5AH, UK
e-mail: s.w.spence@qub.ac.uk

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF TURBOMACHINERY. Manuscript received June 19, 2018; final manuscript received September 24, 2018; published online November 8, 2018. Editor: Kenneth Hall.

J. Turbomach 140(12), 121009 (Nov 08, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: TURBO-18-1130; doi: 10.1115/1.4041601 History: Received June 19, 2018; Revised September 24, 2018

The main centrifugal compressor performance criteria are pressure ratio, efficiency, and wide flow range. The relative importance of these criteria, and therefore the optimum design balance, varies between different applications. Vaned diffusers are generally used for high-performance applications as they can achieve higher efficiencies and pressure ratios, but have a reduced operating range, in comparison to vaneless diffusers. Many impeller-based casing treatments have been developed to enlarge the operating range of centrifugal compressors over the last decades but there is much less information available in open literature for diffuser focused methods, and they are not widely adopted in commercial compressor stages. The development of aerodynamic instabilities at low mass flow rate operating conditions can lead to the onset of rotating stall or surge, limiting the stable operating range of the centrifugal compressor stage. More understanding of these aerodynamic instabilities has been established in recent years. Based on this additional knowledge, new casing treatments can be developed to prevent or suppress the development of these instabilities, thus increasing the compressor stability at low mass flow rates. This paper presents a novel vaned diffuser casing treatment that successfully increased the stable operating range at low mass flow rates and high pressure ratios. Detailed experimental measurements from a high pressure ratio turbocharger compressor stage combined with complementary CFD simulations were used to examine the effect of the new diffuser casing treatment on the compressor flow field and led to the improvement in overall compressor stability. A detailed description of how the new casing treatment operates is presented within the paper.

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Fig. 1

Sketch of shroud side diffuser recirculation technique: (a) meridional and (b) blade-to-blade view

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Fig. 2

Velocity triangles at diffuser inlet near the shroud without (solid) and with (dashed) flow recirculation

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Fig. 3

Passage and vane labeling system

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Fig. 4

Effect of diffuser recirculation on compressor performance and stability

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Fig. 5

Unsteady pressure traces in the VLS at S2: (a) baseline and (b) DRS

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Fig. 6

Streamwise unsteady pressure traces for baseline configuration: (a) 100% speed and (b) 90% speed

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Fig. 7

Steady pressure taps through the diffuser passage and the subcomponent regions

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Fig. 8

Diffuser subcomponent analysis for baseline and DRS configurations at 100% speed

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Fig. 9

Loading parameter for baseline and DRS: (a) 80% speed and (b) 100% speed

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Fig. 10

Total-to-static PR and efficiency for the baseline, DRS and DRH configurations at 100% speed

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Fig. 11

Diffuser inlet static pressure trend at SS3

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Fig. 12

SS CFD loading parameters for baseline and DRS at 100% speed

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Fig. 13

Comparison of streamwise pressure rise through the diffuser

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Fig. 14

Experimental circumferential pressure variations at S1

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Fig. 15

Recirculated mass flow through each side cavity at 100% speed: (a) DRS and (b) DRH

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Fig. 16

Mach number contours and velocity vectors at 95% span for TT6. Inset: vane LE with stagnation streamline indicated. (a) Baseline, (b) DRS, and (c) DRH.

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Fig. 17

Spanwise variation in diffuser LE incidence at TT6

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Fig. 18

Spanwise variation in diffuser LE Mach number at TT6

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Fig. 19

Incidence and Mach number at the LE (span 0.9) of each diffuser vane at TT6

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Fig. 20

Change in diffuser mass flow per unit area (m˘) for DR treatments at TT6: (a) DRS—baseline and (b) DRH—baseline

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Fig. 21

Stability enhancement mechanism of DR treatments: (a) DRS and (b) DRH



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