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Centrifugal Compressor

Performance Curve

Impeller and diffuser geometry influence compressor performance curve.

Basic Shape of Performance Curves

Surge (Minimum Flow) Limit: Surge flow has been defined by some as the flow
at which the head-flow curve is perfectly flat and below which head actually
decreases. Surge can be quite damaging to a compressor and should be
Because flow is reduced while speed is held constant, the magnitude of V
decreases in proportion, and that of V
remains constant for radial blades or
increases for backward-lean blades. As flow decreases, therefore, the value of
flow angle alpha decreases. In the normal parallel wall vaneless diffuser, this
angle remains almost constant throughout the diffuser, so the path taken by a
particle of gas is a log spiral in Fig. 17.9. The reason that angle alpha
remains constant in a parallel wall diffuser is that both V
and V
vary inversely
with radiusV
because radial flow area is proportional to radius and V
because of the law of conservation of momentum.
It is evident from Fig. 17.9 that the smaller the angle alpha, the longer the flow
path of a given gas particle between the impeller tip and the diffuser outer
diameter. When angle alpha becomes small enough and the diffuser flow path
long enough, the flow momentum at the walls is dissipated by friction to the
point where pressure gained by diffusion causes a reversal of flow, and surge

Basic Slope: Head decreases with increasing flow. Head output is proportional to
product V

Steepness affected by Blade Angle (Backward lean) and Molecular Weight of Gas.

Choke/Stonewall Effect: Normally controlled by impeller-inlet-vector geometry

Affected by Mach Number and Gas Weight.

Mach Number: increase flow beyond the design point. As V increases, so do
and rela- tive inlet Mach number. In addition, V
now impinges on the
trailing side of the blade, a condition known as negative incidence. It has been
observed that high degrees of negative incidence tend to contribute to the
stonewall problem as Mach1 is approached, presumably because of boundary
layer separation and reduction of effective flow area in the blade pack.
Molecular weight: Some head loss below the basic slope will be observed,
however, in even the lightest gases, in part because of increased frictional
losses throughout the entire stage and the extreme negative incidence at high
Selection Criteria

Screw Compressor
Rotary screw compressors are widely used today in industrial refrigeration for
compression of ammonia and other refrigerating gases.
Its action is analogous to a reciprocating compressor more than any of the other
common compressor types. It is helpful to refer to the equivalent recip. process
to visualize how compression progresses in a screw. Gas is compressed by pure
rotary motion of the two intermeshing helical rotors. Gas travels around the
outside of the rotors, starting at the top and traveling to the bottom while it is
transferred axially from the suction end to the discharge end of the rotor area.