An accurate estimation of rotating stall is one of the key technologies for high-pressure centrifugal compressors, as it is often connected with the onset of detrimental subsynchronous vibrations which can prevent the machine from operating beyond this limit.
With particular reference to the vaneless diffuser stall, much research has been directed at investigating the physics of the phenomenon, the influence of the main design parameters and the prediction of the stall inception. Few of them, however, focused attention on the evaluation of the aerodynamic unbalance due to the induced pressure field in the diffuser, which, however, could provide a valuable contribution to both the identification of the actual operating conditions and the enhancement of the compressor operating range by a suitable choice of the control strategy.
Although advanced experimental techniques have been successfully applied to the recognition of the stall pattern in a vaneless diffuser, the most suitable solution for a wider application in industrial test-models is based on dynamic pressure measurements by means of a reduced number of probes. Within this context, a procedure to transpose pressure measurements into the spatial pressure distribution was developed and validated on a wide set of industrial test-models.
In this work, the main guidelines of the procedure are presented and discussed, with particular reference to signals analysis and manipulation as well as sensors positioning.
Moreover, the prospects of using a higher number of sensors is analyzed and compared to standard solutions using a limited probes number.