Fluid loss caused by leaks through the impeller tip clearance was investigated for a centrifugal compressor. Operating conditions, Reynolds number, and clearance were varied independently during the experiment. It was found that the average compressor performance would be reduced by about 4 percent when the relative clearance was increased from 0.0125 to 0.125 and the resulting leakage loss was dependent on the Reynolds number, the tendency of which was just opposite in case of wall friction loss, as was well-known. Moreover, a determination of the leakage loss coefficient was made as a function of the relative clearance, relative leak level and the Reynolds number as the result of this experiment.

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