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Effect of Suction Elbow and Inlet Guide Vanes on Flow Field in a Centrifugal Compressor Stage

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael M. Cui

The Trane Company, La Crosse, WI

Paper No. GT2002-30376, pp. 501-512; 12 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2002: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 5: Turbo Expo 2002, Parts A and B
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 3–6, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3610-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3601-0
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


Suction elbows and inlet guide vanes (IGVs) are typical upstream components in front of first-stage impellers in centrifugal compressors. The three-dimensional distortion induced by elbows and IGVs affects the flow field behind the IGV housing. Since the flow field in front of the impeller is subsonic, the flow motion induced by the rotating impeller will interact with the elbow and IGVs as well. The flow field resulting from these interactions is three-dimensional. The nature of this flow field defines design requirements of upstream components and impact overall performance of the compressor. To understand the mechanism controlling the interactions of up-steam components and optimize the compressor design for better efficiency and reliability, a numerical simulation of the flow field inside the entire first stage of the compressor was conducted. The stage studied includes suction elbow, IGV housing with vanes, and first-stage impeller. HFC 134a was used as the working fluid. The thermodynamic and transport properties of the refrigerant gas were modeled by the Martin-Hou equation of state and power laws respectively. The three-dimensional flow field was simulated with a Navier-Stokes solver using the k-ε turbulence model. The overall performance parameters are obtained by integrating the field quantities. The force, torque, and arm of moment acting on the IGVs were then calculated. The results can be used to improve centrifugal compressor design to achieve higher efficiency and improve reliability. The methodology developed in the current study can be applied to centrifugal compressor design and optimization.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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