Centrifugal compressor stages with pipe diffusers are characterized by their high efficiency, especially under high pressure ratio conditions. Although it is believed that pipe diffuser scallop leading edge formed by the intersection of two pipes is a critical point in pipe diffuser design, there is another crucial and influential point, which is how to guide and decelerate the flow from pipe diffuser throat to the inlet of combustor chamber, with minimum loss and maximum outflow uniformity. Fishtail pipe diffuser passage is employed by Pratt&Whitney to connect impeller exit and combustor chamber inlet due to its improved performance characteristics. However, only a few comprehensive results have been published describing the complex flow patterns in the fishtail diffuser. Therefore, in the present work fishtail pipe diffusers with several different geometries were designed for a pressure ratio 8.3 centrifugal compressor stage used on a small turbo engine, aiming at providing detailed understanding of geometric parameter influence on fishtail pipe diffuser performance and flow mechanisms in complex fishtail passages. Cone length, streamwise area distribution and centerline shape are critical parameters of a fishtail pipe diffuser. Hence, parametric studies on fishtail pipe diffuser of this high pressure ratio centrifugal compressor by varying cone length, area distribution and centerline shape of the diffuser passage were performed using a state-of-the-art multi-block flow solver. These three parameters were changed respectively, while keeping other parameters unchanged. Detailed analysis was done to identify the influence on flow field in fishtail diffuser passage when these parameters were changed. It was found that increase of fishtail diffuser cone length could alleviate separation in diffuser passage, thus compressor performance is improved. And linear area distribution along passage centerline could build a more efficient fishtail pipe diffuser. A trumpet-shaped or bell-shaped passage is more likely to make flow separate. The centerline is of vital importance for a fishtail passage and it was built by two lines tangent to an ellipse in this work. It was modified by changing major and minor axes of the ellipse. Stage total pressure ratio and adiabatic efficiency maps for varying fishtail passage centerlines were obtained by numerical method, which indicate that there is an optimum range for both axes to make the fishtail pipe diffuser have a better performance. Through these works, the geometric parameter influence on fishtail diffuser performance was uncovered and physical insight into complex flows in fishtail pipe diffuser passage was obtained to give some guidelines on diffusing system design with fishtail pipe diffuser.

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