Computational tools have become increasingly important in design and research applications in recent years due to increasing computational resources. In most cases, model geometry and flow-physics are simplified to reduce the complexity of the computational model. While this was necessary historically, modern computational tools are capable of including realistic features such as fillets, surface roughness, and heat transfer.

This work presents extensive and systematic numerical results from a simulation of a centrifugal compressor stage for an aero-engine application. Numerical results are compared to detailed experimental data to investigate the effect of various modelling decisions, including turbulence models, on the predicted aerodynamics developing through the diffuser passage. Roughness and the inclusion of fillets significantly impact the flow development, especially with the SST turbulence model.

This approach leads to the conclusion that the BSL-EARSM model is best able to predict the experimentally determined diffuser flow profiles and overall performance trends with the inclusion of the previously mentioned model features. Additionally, the misleading conclusions can be reached if modelling decisions are based on merely matching overall performance values. Finally, frozen rotor simulations are used to roughly approximate the impact of unsteadiness on the flow field. The results show a significant impact and also that the inclusion of approximate unsteady effects tends to further improve the predictive capability of the computational models that were considered.

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