The flow field inside a single-stage centrifugal compressor characterized by a high flowrate of Φ = 0.15 and a design total pressure ratio of approximately 1.4 is analysed numerically. The stage geometry consists of a radially oriented inlet duct with uniform inflow without swirl, a 90 deg inlet bend in front of the impeller, the shrouded impeller itself followed by a large radial vaneless diffuser, a 180 deg U-turn, a radially oriented turning vane, a subsequent 90 deg bend, and as the last item a long axial exit duct. The impeller blades have large fillets at hub and tip and thick blunt trailing edges. Due to the rotating shroud, a labyrinth seal is placed above the impeller with 5 seal tips. The complete leakage region is also included in the CFD analysis. The blade numbers for the impeller and vane are 15 and 14, respectively. The test rig has recently been built at the Institute of Propulsion and Turbomachinery at RWTH Aachen University (Germany).

The first part of the CFD work presented was carried out before the first experimental data were available. Using the k-ω turbulence model of Wilcox (1988), a number of principal steady RANS calculations were performed to investigate the following: Impact of near wall grid resolution and turbulence model wall boundary condition treatment, impact of impeller fillets, and the influence of leakage flow. This part is completed by a comparison of steady RANS simulations with the time-mean results of unsteady RANS analyses of one blade passage. For the calculations presented in the second part, experimental data are available at the inflow and outflow planes. At these planes overall mean values were deduced. Additionally, 3- and 5-hole probe data are available at spanwise traverse planes located at the zenith of the U-turn and in the exit plane. For part two a finer grid with y+ values of approximately unity for all solid walls was used. In addition to the Wilcox k-ω model and the Menter SST k-ω model, two higher level turbulence models — the explicit algebraic Reynolds stress model Hellsten EARSM k-ω and the differential Reynolds stress model SSG/LRR-ω — have been tested and compared with the experiments. The agreement in terms of overall performance (total pressure ratio, isentropic efficiency) is satisfactory for all turbulence models used, but there are some differences: the k-ω model is shown to be the most stable one towards stall. On the other hand, it is shown that details of the flow field in terms of the two spanwise traverses can be better represented by the more advanced turbulence models. All CFD simulations have been performed at 100% shaft speed.

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