Nowadays, multistage geared centrifugal compressors are most often equipped with three-dimensional impellers and adjustable inlet guide vane cascades, at least upstream of the first stage. Optimum stage efficiencies are made possible by optimum axial in-flow into each stage and freely selectable pinion shaft speeds. Combined with intercooling of the medium, the result is high machine efficiency with good operating ranges. Additional increases in efficiency can be achieved by means of vaned diffusers. Due to the attendant restriction to the working range, this solution is not common in production compressors. Nevertheless, the working range can be distinctly expanded by adjusting the diffuser vanes. In addition, the combination of simultaneous adjustment to inlet guide vanes and diffuser vanes enables an increase in machine efficiency over the entire operating range as compared with regulation using only inlet guide vanes or diffuser vanes. This paper reports on the development of centrifugal compressor stages equipped with vaned diffusers. The impellers have backward-curved blades. Experimental determination of suitable schedules for simultaneous adjustment of both inlet guide vanes and diffuser vanes, depending on the desired performance characteristic, will be dealt with in detail. Furthermore, some examples of the overall performance maps for multistage inter-cooled geared compressors will be shown as a result of combining the performance characteristic curves of the individual stages. The operating ranges and regions of maximum efficiency are optimally matched to the requirements in question by means of suitable adjustment schedules.

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