Experiments were carried out in a model vaneless diffuser rig to investigate the rotating stall phenomenon and its relation to diffuser geometry. The experimental rig consisted of an actual impeller which was used to deliver the flow to the vaneless diffuser. Mass flow rate through the system could be adjusted by varying the rotational speed of the impeller at a fixed inlet opening or by changing the inlet opening at a fixed impeller speed. The flow exited to room condition. As such, the rig was designed to investigate the fluid mechanics of vaneless diffuser rotating stall only. Attention was focused on the effects of diffuser width and radius on rotating stall. Three diffuser widths and three outlet radii were examined. The width-to-inlet radius ratio varied between 0.09 and 0.142 while the outlet-to-inlet radius ratio varied between 1.5 and 2.
Results showed that the critical mass flow rate for the onset of rotating stall decreases with decreasing diffuser width. The critical mass flow rate is affected also by the diffuser radius ratio; larger radius ratios resulted in smaller critical mass flow rates. The ratio of the speed of rotation of the stall cell to impeller speed is found to decrease with increasing number of stall cells. This relative speed also decreases with increasing diffuser radius ratio, but it is largely independent of the diffuser width.