The aim of this paper is to help advance our understanding of the complex, three-dimensional, unsteady flow associated with the interaction of a splattered centrifugal impeller and its vaned diffuser. A time-resolved simulation is presented of the Krain stage performed using a time-accurate, 3D, unstructured mesh, solution-adaptive Navier-Stokes solver.

The predicted flowfield, compared with experiment where available, displays a complex, unsteady interaction especially in the neighbourhood of the diffuser entry zone which experiences large periodic flow unsteadiness. Downstream of the throat, although the magnitude of this unsteadiness diminishes rapidly, the flow has a highly distorted three-dimensional character.

The loss levels in the diffuser are then investigated to try and determine how time-mean loss levels compare with the levels expected from “equivalent” steady flow analysis performed by using the circumferentially averaged exit flow from the impeller as inlet to the diffuser. It is concluded that little loss could be attributed directly to unsteady effects but rather that the principle cause of the rather high loss levels observed in the diffuser is the strong spanwise distortion in swirl angle at inlet which initiates a strong hub/comer stall.

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