A new method for dynamic control of centrifugal compressor surge is presented. The approach taken is to suppress surge by modifying the compression system dynamic behavior using structural feedback. More specifically, one wall of a downstream volume, or plenum, is constructed so to move in response to small perturbations in pressure. This structural motion provides a means for absorbing the unsteady energy perturbations produced by the compressor, thus extending the stable operating range of the compression system.
In the paper, a lumped parameter analysis is carried out to define the coupled aerodynamic and structural system behavior and the potential for stabilization. First-of-a-kind experiments are then carried out to examine the conclusions of the analysis. As predicted by the model and demonstrated with experiment, a moveable plenum wall lowered the mass flow at which surge occurred in a centrifugal compression system by roughly 25% for a large range of operating conditions. In addition, because the tailored dynamics of the structure acts to suppress instabilities in their initial stages, this control was achieved with relatively little power being dissipated by the moveable wall system, and with no noticeable decrease in steady state performance. Although designed on the basis of linear system considerations, the structural control is shown to be capable of suppressing existing large amplitude limit cycle surge oscillations.