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Impact of Fan Gap Flow to the Centrifugal Impeller Aerodynamics

[+] Author Affiliations
Yu-Tai Lee

Naval Surface Warfare Center, West Bethesda, MD

Paper No. GT2010-22381, pp. 1793-1803; 11 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 7: Turbomachinery, Parts A, B, and C
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4402-1 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3


The effect of a gap between an inlet duct and a rotating impeller in a centrifugal fan is often neglected in the impeller design calculations or design-related CFD analyses. This leads to an arbitrary determination of the gap size for the final fan configuration. Since the gap guides the volute flow back to the impeller flow field near the shroud high-curvature turning area, the low-momentum jet formed by the gap flow could prevent local flow from separation, reducing the local flow turning losses. However, this jet flow has enlarged flow separation in the blade passage producing shedding vorticity in the downstream passage flow. The passage-flow separation and the downstream volute flow, which is also affected by the passage-flow separation, have a higher impact on flow losses than the blade leading-edge separation. If the gap size is not selected carefully, the combined effect of the passage-flow separation and downstream volute-flow losses reduces the fan’s overall performance between 2% points and 5% points as demonstrated in the current study. In this paper, local impeller velocity distributions obtained from both design-CFD and analysis-CFD calculations are compared along the shroud from the gap to the blade trailing edge. The overall impeller flow fields with and without the gap and volute effects are also compared and discussed based on the CFD solutions. Finally, an example of controlling the gap effect is shown.



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