Three-dimensional flow measurements in conical and straight wall centrifugal compressor vaneless diffusers
In the current work three-dimensional flow measurements in two types of centrifugal compressor vaneless diffuser were obtained using hot wire anemometry. The first diffuser was conical, designed to give a constant flow area, while the second straight wall diffuser had a constant axial width. Measurements of mean velocity, flow angle and velocity fluctuation level were obtained on eight cross-sectional planes in each diffuser. The jet-wake flow pattern and the impeller blade wakes are clearly visible at the inlet of both diffusers. Mixing out of the blade wake proceeds more rapidly in the straight diffuser. The hub boundary layer also develops more rapidly in this diffuser because of the adverse pressure gradient. Velocity fluctuation level measurements highlight the mixing regions within the diffusers. Recommendations are also made for the design of vaned diffusers. A larger vaneless space would be required with a straight wall diffuser and significant twisting of the vane would be required for both diffuser geometries if significant incidence losses are to be avoided. © IMechE 1996.