Turbomachinery systems are often subject to variations in ambient conditions and applied loads in operation. Standard maps (perhaps the most common being pressure ratio verses mass flow for compressors) are usually presented in terms of fixed inflow conditions. To account for changes in performance due to varying inlet conditions, compressors maps are often presented in standardized form where the mass flow and rotational speeds are normalized as a function of the reference condition total pressure and temperature. These methods are very widely used, particularly in the turbo charger industry. With these normalized maps, the actual performance of a compressor in a given environment can be deduced simply and easily with very reasonable accuracy in most cases.

The underlaying assumption of this conventional normalization process is that the fluid behaves as a perfect gas. While this is usually sufficient for air compressors, the method is not viable where the fluid properties are not near perfect gas conditions, which is certainly the case for supercritical applications. The highly variable fluid properties near the critical point, and the challenges they present in design, have been well documented in the literature. The two most critical properties to consider in the design process are the density and the speed of sound. The density determines the volumetric flow for a given mass flow and this in turn determines the incidence angle, a primary driver of performance. The speed of sound directly affects the range of the compressor via choking. Choking range can be further complicated by the fact that under certain conditions, the choked state can be reached at Mach numbers less than one. While rare, this situation can occur when the inflow conditions are found close to the liquid side of the saturation dome.

To account for these effects, a new method is proposed to generate normalized maps of performance that can be used to determine actual performance of a wide range of inlet conditions for highly non-linear thermodynamic properties. Although not as simple as the conventional perfect gas method that can be applied in a “back-of-the-envelope” style, the new method can be applied very rapidly using a spreadsheet-based method directly calling high fidelity NIST thermodynamic models. The end result of this tool is that a compressor map that has been painstakingly generated with testing or CFD can be applied to any inlet condition and the range and performance predicted very rapidly with high accuracy.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.