Highly efficient and concurrent flexible operation are heavy demands on today's centrifugal compressor units. Diffuser end wall contouring is a measure to delay the incipience of instability and therefore to extend the compressor's operating range while maintaining efficient performance. In the presented paper, a hub-side wall contouring, applied in the vaneless space upstream the diffuser's leading edge and within the diffuser passage of a state-of-the-art centrifugal compressor with an open impeller is examined. CFD computations are performed for both a baseline diffuser design with parallel channel walls and the hub-side wall contoured diffuser design. Comparisons of characteristic and diffuser stability decisive flow variables are made in perpendicular sections along an extrapolated camber line of the diffuser vane for full span, near shroud and near hub wall. In operating points near the stability limit at two different stage Mach numbers, the stabilizing effect of the hub-side wall contouring on the diffuser flow is clearly shown. In a scalemodel test rig, experimental data including pneumatic 5-hole probe data for a full diffuser blade-to-blade passage, static wall pressures at various planes as well as total temperature was measured. The experimental data is utilized for validation of the presented numerical calculations. The flow stabilizing effect of the hub-wall contouring is clearly visible in the measurements, which showed 8% range extension at highest stage Mach number Mu2 = 1.16 and a range extension of 2% at design stage Mach number Mu2 = 1.

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