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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2014, Article ID 729629, 11 pages
Research Article

Analysis of the Unsteady Flow Field in a Centrifugal Compressor from Peak Efficiency to Near Stall with Full-Annulus Simulations

1Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS, 408 avenue des Etats Unis, 31016 Toulouse, France
2Département d’Aérodynamique, Energétique et Propulsion, ISAE, Université de Toulouse, BP 54032, 31055 Toulouse Cedex 4, France
3Laboratoire de Mécanique des Fluides et d’Acoustique, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, UCB Lyon I, INSA, 36 avenue Guy de Collongue, 69134 Ecully Cedex, France

Received 10 September 2013; Accepted 15 November 2013; Published 16 January 2014

Academic Editor: Farid Bakir

Copyright © 2014 Yannick Bousquet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study concerns a 2.5 pressure ratio centrifugal compressor stage consisting of a splittered unshrouded impeller and a vaned diffuser. The aim of this paper is to investigate the modifications of the flow structure when the operating point moves from peak efficiency to near stall. The investigations are based on the results of unsteady three-dimensional simulations, in a calculation domain comprising all the blade. A detailed analysis is given in the impeller inducer and in the vaned diffuser entry region through time-averaged and unsteady flow field. In the impeller inducer, this study demonstrates that the mass flow reduction from peak efficiency to near stall leads to intensification of the secondary flow effects. The low momentum fluid accumulated near the shroud interacts with the main flow through a shear layer zone. At near stall condition, the interface between the two flow structures becomes unstable leading to vortices development. In the diffuser entry region, by reducing the mass flow, the high incidence angle from the impeller exit induces a separation on the diffuser vane suction side. At near stall operating point, vorticity from the separation is shed into vortex cores which are periodically formed and convected downstream along the suction side.