The flow field development within a centrifugal compressor stage was analyzed using an advanced laser velocimetry [4]. A splitter blade impeller coupled with a vaned and vaneless diffuser has been found to have similar internal flow patterns for both the vaneless and vaned diffuser design. Different velocity profiles have been analyzed for adjacent channels behind the splitter blade leading edge. A considerable wake flow was observed near the impeller exit. Detailed optical measurements within the vaned diffuser entrance region gave evidence of a periodically fluctuating, highly distorted diffuser inlet flow. Unsteady flow angle deviations of 13 degrees have been discovered within the diffuser throat. Maximum flow angle differences up to 27 degrees occurred from hub to shroud.

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