Detailed three-dimensional velocity distributions, corresponding to design and off-design operation, were measured in two different circumferential cross sections of a volute by means of LDV. It is shown that the swirl has a forced vortex type velocity distribution and that the location of the swirl center changes with mass flow. The throughflow velocity distribution is primarily defined by the conservation of angular momentum. A strong interaction between the throughflow and swirl velocity is observed. Flow visualization in the tongue region reveals a reversal of the velocity at the volute inlet with increasing mass flow. The pressure drop between volute outlet and inlet at low mass flow pushes extra fluid through the tongue gap and increases the mass flow in the volute. The abrupt pressure rise at high mass flow results in local return flow perturbing the flow in the outlet pipe.

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