In order to visualize the three-dimensional flow in the impeller and the vaneless diffuser of a centrifugal compressor, water is used as the working fluid and streak lines of colored water are photographed and examined. The test is made at an extremely low speed so that streak lines do not diffuse due to turbulent mixing. The streak lines clearly demonstrate several types of secondary flow, some of which agree with what have been speculated to exist in actual compressors. Most of observed secondary flow patterns are qualitatively understandable with existing theories.

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