The three-dimensional flow in centrifugal impellers is investigated on the basis of a detailed analysis of the results of numerical simulations. An in-depth validation has been performed, based on the computations of Krain’s centrifugal compressor and a radial pump impeller, both with vaneless diffusers and detailed comparisons with available experimental data, discussed in Part I, provide high confidence in the numerical tools and results. The low energy, high loss ‘wake’ region results from a balance between various contributions to the secondary flows influenced by tip leakage flows and is not necessarily connected to 3D boundary layer separation. A quantitative evaluation of the different contributions to the streamwise vorticity is performed, identifying the main features influencing their intensity. The main contributions are: the passage vortices along the end walls due to the flow turning; a passage vortex generated by the Coriolis forces proportional to the local loading and mainly active in the radial parts of the impeller; blade surface vortices due to the meridional curvature. The analysis provides an explanation for the differences in wake position under different geometries and flow conditions. A secondary flow representation is derived from the calculated 3D flow field for the two geometries validated in Part I, and the identified flow features largely confirm the theoretical analysis.

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