The unshrouded impeller and the vaneless diffuser of a single-stage radial compressor have been investigated at three flow rates. Three-dimensional velocities and pressures were measured at a tip speed of 84 m/s by an L2F-velocimeter, a slanted single hot-wire probe and piezoresistive pressure transducers. The measurements show that upstream the blading the averaged meridional inlet flow angle is about 54 degree and a periodical variation of the meridional flow angle of about 25 degree occurs near the casing wall. Further, an inlet vortex of clockwise direction appears and an initial whirl is induced. The specific work of the initial whirl corresponds to approximately 12% of the enthalpy losses between inlet pipe and diffuser outlet. In the beginning of the passage, the inlet vortex is suppressed and a solid body vortex of counterclockwise direction can be observed. At the outlet, a heavy flow deceleration at the blade suction side with subsequent separation can be seen. Increasing the flow rate decreases the wake and causes a more uniform loss distribution in this area. The measured secondary vortex flow and rotary stagnation pressure gradients are compared with test results from impellers with inducer. The incidence of the investigated impeller is greater than that of the impellers with inducer, but the wake-jet outlet flows are very similar. Inlet losses could be reduced by improving incidence angles by matching the blade angles to the inlet flow angles. Smaller blade angles at the shroud would reduce or eliminate separation at the leading edge, and the resulting reduction in low momentum fluid along the suction surface would help to avoid separation on that surface near the outlet.

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