High pressure centrifugal compressors continue to experience vibrations due to rotordynamic stability. The main cause for aero-induced exciting forces that affects the stability, is the tangential velocity component of the gas entering the many labyrinth seals throughout the machine. In order to control or limit these swirling flows, swirl brakes are generally implemented both at the impeller eye seals and at the balance piston or division wall seal of a centrifugal compressor. This paper deals with the aerodynamic characterization, by means of CFD, of such kind of devices. Several design parameters, such as teeth lean, angle of attack and pitch-to-chord ratio have been considered and also the operating conditions (pressure level and swirl at the swirl brake inlet) are accounted for. This paper aims to improve the physical understanding of the fluid flow of centrifugal compressors swirl brakes allowing an optimization of such systems.

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