Abstract

Unconventional aero-thermodynamic phenomena affect the performance of compressors that operate with carbon dioxide (CO2) close to its thermodynamic critical point. As a consequence, whether compressor performance maps based on conventional scaling parameters, such as flow coefficient and peripheral Mach number, still posses general features remains an open question.

In this work, we show that additional dimensionless parameters are needed to ensure full similarity conditions when intake thermodynamic conditions vary. Thanks to a combination of three-dimensional turbulent flow simulations, analytical developments and physical flow considerations, three main phenomena are shown to affect compressor operation when changing the upstream total state: (i) non-ideal effects that can modify the fluid compressibility from liquid-like to gas-like and vice versa, (ii) the extent of the two-phase region within the blade channel, (iii) the resulting compressibility of the two-phase mixture. Three dimensionless parameters are introduced to separately account for these effects and their relationship is highlighted. The influence of these parameters on compressor performance maps is widely discussed, shedding light on the way they act in the modification of the ideal similarity based only on the flow coefficient and the peripheral Mach number.

As a general result, two additional dimensionless parameters are needed to guarantee similarity conditions in presence of non-ideal flows of CO2 subject to phase change. These findings are expected to be relevant for the plant regulation in off-design conditions and for planning experimental campaigns at different thermodynamic conditions.

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