In this paper the 3D inverse design code TURBOdesign-1 is applied to the design of the blade geometry of a centrifugal compressor impeller with splitter blades. In the design of conventional impellers the splitter blades normally have the same geometry as the full blades and are placed at mid-pitch location between the two full blades, which can usually result in a mis-match between the flow angle and blade angles at the splitter leading edge. In the inverse design method the splitter and full blade geometry is computed independently for a specified distribution of blade loading on the splitter and full blades. In this paper the basic design methodology is outlined and then the flow in the conventional and inverse designed impeller is compared in detail by using CFD code TASCflow. The CFD results confirm that the inverse design impeller has a more uniform exit flow, better control of tip leakage flow and higher efficiency than the conventional impeller. The results also show that the shape of the trailing edge geometry has a very appreciable effect on the impeller Euler head and this must be accurately modeled in all CFD computations to ensure closer match between CFD and experimental results. Detailed measurements are presented in part 2 of the paper.

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