Abstract

An asymmetric structure of volute in a supercritical carbon dioxide centrifugal compressor induces a non-uniform circumferential distribution of the upstream flow field, which inevitably affects the formation of a two-phase region of carbon dioxide in an impeller. In this work, unsteady simulations for centrifugal compressors were conducted. First, the influence of low static strip induced by low static pressure near volute tongue on the impeller flow field was presented. Then, the non-uniform flow field distribution in the impeller passages and flow characteristics of the passages at the impeller inlet were obtained. Finally, the two-phase regions in the impeller were presented. The results demonstrate that for a centrifugal compressor with volute, the two-phase region appears not only on the suction surface of the leading edge of the blade, but also in some impeller passages, on the pressure surface of the blade near the leading edge, and in the leading edge and mid-chord of tip clearance, under the design conditions. The low static pressure strip induced by the volute leads to a high-speed region in the impeller passages where the temperature and pressure of supercritical carbon dioxide fall below the critical point and carbon dioxide enters the two-phase region. Meanwhile, the static pressure on the blade surface is distorted under the influence of a high-speed region in the passages, resulting in the formation of a two-phase region at the tip clearance. The flow distortion of passages at the impeller inlet results in the appearance of two-phase regions on the both sides of leading edge of the blade. The dryness on the suction side of the blade leading edge and the leading edge of the tip clearance is lower, which indicated that the proportion of liquid-phase carbon dioxide is higher in these two-phase regions.

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