Centrifugal compressors are deemed to have a wide operating range. Recirculation devices, which comprise a bleed slot, an upstream slot and an annular cavity connecting them, are often used particularly compressors for turbochargers. They remove low energy fluid at the inducer and improve the incidence angle of the impeller leading edge, i.e. the blade loading of the inducer, at low flow rates due to the recirculation flow supplied to the compressor inlet. The impeller of a centrifugal compressor is often housed in a volute. Since the geometry of the volute is not axisymmetric, the impeller might be surrounded by an asymmetric flow field, hence there is the potential to enlarge the compressor operating range and improve efficiency using a recirculation device with an asymmetrically-distributed bleed slot, referred to here as a non-axisymmetric recirculation device.

The authors [1] applied non-axisymmetric recirculation devices to a compressor with a vaneless diffuser. The results showed the effectiveness of a non-axisymmetric recirculation device with a bleed slot partially channeled in the circumferential direction. They also showed that the surge line of the compressor characteristics, which is the line connecting the operational points of the smallest flow rates on all peripheral Mach numbers, was significantly affected by the change in the circumferential position of the bleed slot relative to the volute tongue. The tested compressor was originally designed to feature a vaned diffuser [2]. Enhancing the compressor operating range is the key for marine use turbochargers, integrally geared compressors, multistage compressors and gas turbines as well as automotive turbochargers. These compressors normally use vaned diffusers. In this study the authors tried to apply non-axisymmetric recirculation devices developed in their previous study [1] to compressors with a vaned diffuser. Moreover different circumferential positions of the bleed slot relative to the volute tongue were tested as well as the vanelss diffuser case. The change in the surge line of the compressor characteristics was much smaller compared to the compressor with the vaneless diffuser. The circumferential static pressure distributions in the compressors in combination with vaneless and vaned diffusers were measured to determine the above reason as well as conducting unsteady calculations with a simplified outlet boundary condition. These measurements and calculations showed that the impeller with the vaned diffuser was surrounded by a less distorted static pressure field than that with the vaneless diffuser. These results implied that the vaned diffuser depresses the spread of the circumferential static pressure non-uniformity effect caused by a volute to the impeller.

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