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Comparative Study on Tip Clearance Flow Fields in Two Types of Transonic Centrifugal Compressor Impeller With Splitter Blades

[+] Author Affiliations
Kazutoyo Yamada, Yusuke Tamagawa, Hisataka Fukushima, Masato Furukawa

Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

Seiichi Ibaraki, Ken-ichiro Iwakiri

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Nagasaki, Japan

Paper No. GT2010-23345, pp. 2053-2063; 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
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Two types of transonic centrifugal compressor impeller with splitter blades, which are different in blade count, have been investigated in this study. RANS (Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes) simulations were carried out for several operating conditions to clarify differences in aerodynamic performance characteristic and tip clearance flow field between the two compressors. The simulation shows that basically similar flow events happen in both compressors. A low velocity region is generated near the tip at low flow rate conditions, which results from an expansion of the tip leakage vortex. The low velocity region expands as the flow rate is decreased, and interacts with the pressure surface of the splitter blade near the leading edge. This causes a descent of the blade loading near the tip of the leading edge, and an accumulation of high entropy fluid near the casing-suction corner. Moreover, the tip clearance flow spills ahead of the leading edge of the splitter blade at near stall condition, and eventually the spillage happens at the full blade at stall condition. However, the major difference in solidity influences tip clearance flow/blade interaction, which leads to changes in the performance characteristics. In the impeller with low solidity, the tip leakage vortex breaks down with a large blockage effect because of high blade loading at the tip, which decreases the pressure ratio. The impeller with high solidity is subject to the spillage, which results in an early and large-scale stall that decreases the efficiency.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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