Active Stabilization of Centrifugal Compressor Surge

[+] Author and Article Information
J. E. Pinsley, G. R. Guenette, A. H. Epstein, E. M. Greitzer

Gas Turbine Laboratory, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

J. Turbomach 113(4), 723-732 (Oct 01, 1991) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2929139 History: Received January 18, 1990; Online June 09, 2008


Active suppression of centrifugal compressor surge has been demonstrated on a centrifugal compressor equipped with a servo-actuated plenum exit throttle controller. The control scheme is fundamentally different from conventional surge control techniques in that it addresses directly the dynamic behavior of the compression system to displace the surge line to lower mass flows. The method used is to feed back perturbations in plenum pressure rise, in real time, to a fast-acting control valve. The increased aerodynamic damping of incipient oscillations due to the resulting valve motion allows stable operation past the normal surge line. For the compressor used, a 25 percent reduction in the surge point mass flow was achieved over a range of speeds and pressure ratios. Time-resolved measurements during controlled operation revealed that the throttle required relatively little power to suppress the surge oscillations, because the disturbances are attacked in their initial stages. Although designed for operation with small disturbances, the controller was also able to eliminate existing, large-amplitude, surge oscillations. Comparison of experimental results with theoretical predictions showed that a lumped parameter model appeared adequate to represent the behavior of the compression system with the throttle controller and, perhaps more importantly, to be used in the design of more sophisticated control strategies.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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