The main centrifugal compressor performance criteria are pressure ratio, efficiency, and wide flow range. The relative importance of these criteria, and therefore the optimum design balance, varies between different applications. Vaned diffusers are generally used for high-performance applications as they can achieve higher efficiencies and pressure ratios, but have a reduced operating range, in comparison to vaneless diffusers. Many impeller-based casing treatments have been developed to enlarge the operating range of centrifugal compressors over the last decades but there is much less information available in open literature for diffuser focused methods, and they are not widely adopted in commercial compressor stages. The development of aerodynamic instabilities at low mass flow rate operating conditions can lead to the onset of rotating stall or surge, limiting the stable operating range of the centrifugal compressor stage. More understanding of these aerodynamic instabilities has been established in recent years. Based on this additional knowledge, new casing treatments can be developed to prevent or suppress the development of these instabilities, thus increasing the compressor stability at low mass flow rates. This paper presents a novel vaned diffuser casing treatment that successfully increased the stable operating range at low mass flow rates and high pressure ratios. Detailed experimental measurements from a high pressure ratio turbocharger compressor stage combined with complementary CFD simulations were used to examine the effect of the new diffuser casing treatment on the compressor flow field and led to the improvement in overall compressor stability. A detailed description of how the new casing treatment operates is presented within the paper.

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