A simplified one-dimensional model for the performance estimation of vaneless radial diffusers is presented. The starting point of such a model is that angular momentum losses occurring in vaneless diffusers are usually neglected in the most common turbomachinery textbooks: It is assumed that the angular momentum is conserved inside a vaneless diffuser, although a nonisentropic pressure transformation is considered at the same time. This means that fluid-dynamic losses are taken into account only for what concerns pressure recovery, whereas the evaluation of the outlet tangential velocity incoherently follows an ideal behavior. Several attempts were presented in the past in order to consider the loss of angular momentum, mainly solving a full set of differential equations based on the various developments of the initial work by Stanitz (1952, “One-Dimensional Compressible Flow in Vaneless Diffusers of Radial or Mixed-Flow Centrifugal Compressors, Including Effects of Friction, Heat Transfer and Area Change,” Report No. NACA TN 2610). However, such formulations are significantly more complex and are based on two empirical or calibration coefficients (skin friction coefficient and dissipation or turbulent mixing loss coefficient) which need to be properly assessed. In the present paper, a 1D model for diffuser losses computation is derived considering a single loss coefficient, and without the need of solving a set of differential equations. The model has been validated against massive industrial experimental campaigns, in which several diffuser geometries and operating conditions have been considered. The obtained results confirm the reliability of the proposed approach, able to predict the diffuser performance with negligible drop of accuracy in comparison with more sophisticated techniques. Both preliminary industrial designs and experimental evaluations of the diffusers may benefit from the proposed model.

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