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Measurement and Prediction of Centrifugal Compressor Axial Forces During Surge: Part 1 — Surge Force Measurements

[+] Author Affiliations
Klaus Brun, Sarah Simons

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Rainer Kurz

Solar Turbines, Inc., San Diego, CA

Michele Pinelli, Enrico Munari

University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy

Mirko Morini

University of Parma, Parma, Italy

Paper No. GT2017-63061, pp. V009T27A003; 9 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Oil and Gas Applications; Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles; Wind Energy
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, June 26–30, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5096-1
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME and Solar Turbines Incorporated


Centrifugal compressor impellers and shafts are subject to severe fluctuating axial and radial forces when operating in surge. These forces can cause severe damage to the close clearance components of a centrifugal compressor such as the thrust and radial bearings, inter-stage and dry gas seals, and balance piston. Being able to accurately quantify the cyclic surge forces on the close clearance components of the compressor allows the user to determine whether an accidental surge event, or emergency shutdown (ESD) transient, has caused damage requiring inspection, repair, or part replacement. For the test, a 700 Hp (∼520 kW) industrial air centrifugal compressor was operated in surge at speeds ranging from 7,000 to 13,000 rpm and pressure ratios from 1.2 to 1.8. The axial surge forces were directly measured using axial load cells on the thrust bearings. Suction and discharge pressures, proximity probe axial shaft position, flows, and temperatures were also measured. Time domain and frequency plots of axial vibration and dynamic pulsations showed the impact of the operating conditions on surge force amplitudes and frequencies. A surge severity coefficient was also derived as a simple screening tool to evaluate the magnitude of potential damage to a compressor during surge.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME and Solar Turbines Incorporated



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