Truncating the exit of a discrete passage centrifugal compressor diffuser is observed to enhance a research compressor's stall line. By interrogating the experimental data along with a set of well-designed Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes computations, this improvement is traced to the reduced impact of secondary flows on the truncated diffuser's boundary layer growth. The secondary flow system is characterized by counter-rotating streamwise vortex pairs that persist throughout the diffuser passage. The vortices originate from two sources: flow nonuniformity at the impeller exit and separation off the leading edge cusps unique to a discrete passage diffuser. The latter detrimentally impacts the diffuser pressure rise capability by accumulating high loss flow along the diffuser wall near the plane of symmetry between the vortices. This contributes to a large passage separation in the baseline diffuser. Using reduced-order modeling, the impact of the vortices on the boundary layer growth is shown to scale inversely with the diffuser aspect ratio, and thus, the separation extent is reduced for the truncated diffuser. Because the diffuser incidence angle influences the strength and location of the vortices, this mechanism can affect the slope of the compressor's pressure rise characteristic and impact its stall line. Stall onset for the baseline diffuser configuration is initiated when the vortex location and the corresponding passage separation transition from pressure to suction side with increased cusp incidence. Conversely, because the extent of the passage separation in the truncated diffuser is diminished, the switch in separation side does not immediately initiate instability.

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