In the design of compressors, typical obstacles arise such as cost, size, weight, manufacturability, and structural integrity. Compression technology has different ways of addressing these challenges. One way to overcome these challenges is a novel multi-stage, axial, counter-rotating turbo compressor with a woven composite impeller. The compressor uses multiple stages to achieve higher pressure ratios. Several configurations are possible including ones with and without guide vanes. Axial compressors are inherently much smaller than radial or mix-flow compressors. A size reduction may result in decreasing costs and help with spatial constraints. The use of counter-rotating impellers allows for no swirl before and after each impeller. This eliminates the need for guide vanes, and thus reduces size, cost, and fluid losses in the compressor. A unique component of this novel compressor technology is the woven composite impeller. Impellers used in high performance compressors are typically required to be of a strong, lightweight material. These impellers are often made from titanium or formed composite sheets and have to be constructed component by component. This in turn is time consuming and incurs very high manufacturing costs. By using a readily available multiple axis winding machine, composite fibers can be wound using computer generated pattern into impellers with a wide variety of shapes. These shapes may include a shroud which can also be cut off if desired. The impellers can be both, rapidly prototyped and mass-produced without the need for expensive dies, molds, tooling or hand crafting. Because of this, the composite impellers are envisioned to reduce the cost of high-performance compressors extensively. The use of composite materials may also include the use of ceramic fiber and matrix material that can withstand high temperatures. In addition, the woven design allows for the interweaving of induction wires or magnetic material for motor, generator and electromagnetic bearing components integrated in the impeller in the same production step. While the paper focuses much on the compressor application especially as needed for compressing water vapor used as refrigerant (R718), this technology can also be adopted for other turbomachinery applications, such as pumps, fans, power generating turbines, in propulsion and more.

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