The velocity distribution was measured at the exit of two different types of unshrouded centrifugal impellers under four different tip clearance conditions each; one with twenty radial blades and inducers and the other with sixteen backward-leaning blades. And the effect of tip clearance on input power was also measured. By increasing the tip clearance, the input power was hardly changed in the radial blade impeller and was reduced in the backward-leaning blade impeller. The velocity distribution normalized by the passage width between hub and shroud wall was hardly changed at the exit of the radial blade impeller by varying the tip clearance, on the other hand, the relative flow angle was reduced significantly and monotonously by an increase of tip clearance in the backward-leaning blade impeller. The change in input power due to the tip clearance was clearly related to the change of flow pattern at the exit of impeller due to the secondary flow, which is most likely caused by the component, normal to the blade, of the shear force to support the fluid in the clearance space against the pressure gradient in the meridional plane without blades.

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