Abstract

A research centrifugal compressor stage designed and built by Safran Helicopter Engines is tested at 3 IGV (Inlet Guide Vanes) stagger angles. The compressor stage includes 4 blade rows: axial inlet guide vanes, a backswept splittered impeller, a splittered vaned radial diffuser and axial outlet guide vanes. The methodology for calculating the performance is detailed, including the consideration of humidity in order to minimize errors related in particular to operating atmospheric conditions.

The shift of the surge line towards lower mass flow rate as the IGV stagger angle increases highly depends on the rotation speed. The surge line shift is very small at low rotation speeds whereas it significantly increases at high rotation speeds. A firstorder stability analysis of the impeller and diffuser subcomponents shows that the diffuser (resp. impeller) is the first unstable component at low (resp. high) rotation speeds. This situation is unaltered by increasing the IGV stagger angle.

At low rotation speeds below a given mass flow rate, rotating instabilities at the impeller inlet are detected at zero IGV stagger angle. Their occurrence is conditioned by the relative flow angle at the tip of the leading edge of the impeller. As the IGV stagger angle increases, the mass flow decreases to maintain a given inlet flow angle. Therefore, the onset of the rotating instabilities is delayed towards lower mass flow rates.

At high rotation speeds, the absolute flow angle at the diffuser inlet near surge decreases as the IGV stagger angle increases. As a result, the flow is highly alternate over two adjacent channels of the radial diffuser beyond the surge line at IGV stagger angle of 0°.

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