Oil injection is widely used in screw compressors for lubrication, sealing and cooling purposes. More recently other, mainly lower viscosity fluids are used for the purpose, for example water. Water introduces new phenomena into the screw compressor process, one among them is evaporation. 3D numerical modelling is employed and presented in this paper for the detailed analysis of flow and thermodynamics process during injection of water in screw compressors. The advantage of such simulations is that realistic geometry of the rotors and the ports can be captured. In addition, the physical effects of fluid thermal interactions and leakage are directly taken into account by these models. Recent studies have shown that for oil free and oil injected air compressors a good agreement is achieved with measurements, in prediction of performance parameters. In these simulations the Eulerian-Eulerian multiphase modelling has been applied. To implement the same model for water injected compressors presents an additional challenge as the liquid water injected into the compression chamber changes phase and evaporates depending on the local saturation and thermodynamic conditions. Water also forms liquid film on the rotors and housing and thereby influences thermal changes.
In this paper a numerical model for water injected screw compressor that accounts for evaporation effects has been presented. Empirical form of the Lee (9) evaporation-condensation model for phase change has been applied in the compression chamber using the phase specific mass and energy sources. Calculation of the amount of water required to just saturate the compressed air at delivery pressure is used to set the mass flow rate of water at two operating speeds. The effect of the suction air temperature and relative humidity is studied. Evaporation inside compression chamber has two important physical effects, one is that the latent heat of evaporating water lowers the gas temperature and the other is the change of state from water to vapour. Including vapour as a third phase adds complexity to already challenging deforming grids required for screw domains. Hence a mass and energy source formulation is proposed in the presented study to account for the vapour phase change and evaporation effects, thus limiting the number of phases to be modelled. Local drop in gas temperature, distribution of water and regions of evaporation were identified by the simulations. Thermal hot spots on the rotor were located. Reduction in the leakage of gas and its exit temperature was well predicted by the model. Such simplified evaporation model can be further used in the design of water injected screw compressors and extended to predict thermal deformation of the rotors and the housing.