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 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 are traced to two sources: background vortices resulting from impeller exit flow non-uniformity, and incidence vortices resulting from flow separation off the leading edge cusps unique to a discrete passage diffuser. The incidence vortices detrimentally impact 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 flow modeling, the impact of the vortices on the boundary layer growth is shown to scale inversely with diffuser aspect ratio, and thus the separation extent is reduced for the higher aspect ratio 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 by the transition of the vortex location and corresponding passage separation between diffuser pressure and suction sides with increased cusp incidence. Conversely, because the extent of the passage separation in the truncated diffuser is diminished, the switch in separation from pressure to suction side does not immediately initiate instability.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.