The operating points of a turbocharger compressor tend to approach or cross its surge line while an engine is accelerating, particularly under low-engine speed conditions, hence the need for an acceptable surge margin under low compressor-speed conditions. A method shifting the stability limit on a compressor low-speed line toward a lower flow rate is expected and inlet recirculation is often observed in a centrifugal compressor with a vaneless diffuser near a surge and under a low compressor-speed condition. First, examples of inlet recirculation were introduced in this paper, whereupon the effect of inlet recirculation on compressor characteristic was discussed by 1D consideration and the potential shown for growth of inlet recirculation to destabilize compressor operations. Accordingly, this study focused on suppressing the effect of inlet recirculation on compressor characteristics using small fins mounted in a compressor-inlet pipe, and examining whether they enhance the compressor operating range under low-speed conditions. Small fins are known as inlet fins in this paper. According to test results, they showed great promise in enhancing the compressor operating range during inlet recirculation. Besides, attempts were also made to investigate the qualitative effect of inlet fins on flow fields using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the disadvantages of inlet fins were also discussed.

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