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Thermo-Fluid-Dynamic Design of Reciprocating Compressor Cylinders by Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI)

[+] Author Affiliations
Riccardo Traversari, Alessandro Rossi

Compression Service Technology s.r.l., Florence, Italy

Marco Faretra

Hypertec Solution s.r.l., Casalecchio di Reno, BO, Italy

Paper No. PVP2011-57059, pp. 17-25; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 5: High-Pressure Technology; Nondestructive Evaluation; Nuclear Engineering
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 17–21, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4455-7
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Pressure losses at the cylinder valves of reciprocating compressors are generally calculated by the classical equation of the flow through an orifice, with flow coefficient determined in steady conditions. Rotational speed has increased in the last decade to reduce compressor physical dimensions, weight and cost. Cylinder valves and associated gas passages became then more and more critical, as they determine specific consumption and throughput. An advanced approach, based on the new Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) software, which allows to deal simultaneously with thermodynamic, motion and deformation phenomena, was utilized to simulate the complex situation that occurs in a reciprocating compressor cylinder during the motion of the piston. In particular, the pressure loss through valves, ducts and manifolds was investigated. A 3D CFD Model, simulating a cylinder with suction and discharge valves, was developed and experimentally validated. The analysis was performed in transient and turbulent condition, with compressible fluid, utilizing a deformable mesh. The 3D domain simulating the compression chamber was considered variable with the law of motion of the piston and the valve rings mobile according to the fluid dynamic forces acting on them. This procedure is particularly useful for an accurate valve loss evaluation in case of high speed compressors and heavy gases. Also very high pressure cylinders, including LDPE applications, where the ducts are very small and MW close to the water one, can benefit from the new method.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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