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CompressorChokeorStonewallEnggcyclopedia

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Compressor Choke
or Stonewall

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Compressor choke is an abnormal operating

condition for centrifugal compressor. Choking of
centrifugal compressor occurs when the
compressor is operating at low discharge
pressure and very high owrates. These high
owrates at compressor choke point are actually
the maximum that the compressor can push
through. Any further decrease in the outlet
resistance will not lead to increase in compressor
output. This operating condition is also known as
stonewalling of a centrifugal compressor.

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Figure 1 website. Reach out to our reader base of
compressor map
engineering
professionals. Email showing the choke
line
which
represents the
maximum ow limit
for a compressor

How does a compressor

choke?
Stonewall or choke point for a centrifugal
compressor occurs when the resistance to ow in
the compressor discharge line drops signicantly
below the normal levels. Due to low resistance,
compressor discharge sees very low back
pressure. As suggested by the compressor maps
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for a xed RPM value, compressor output

increases as the backpressure at compressor
discharge drops down. This leads to increased gas
velocity in the centrifugal compressor. The

can
occur

until
it can reach

its maximum at sonic velocity. When the gas

velocity in any of the compressor parts reaches
close to sonic velocity (MACH1), this is said to be
the choke point or stonewall for compressor
operation. The gas velocity and gas ow rate
cannot go beyond this value at the choke point.

Damages due to compressor

choking
Prolonged operation of a compressor at its choke
point can lead to damaging the compressor parts.
Compressor choking is not particularly damaging
to single-stage centrifugal compressors but can
cause serious damage to the rotors and blades of
multistage centrifugal and axial compressors.

How to prevent compressor

choking
To prevent the compressor choke or stonewall
from happening it is needed to maintain a certain
level of ow resistance in the compressor outlet
line. Anti-choke valves can be used for this
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purpose in the compressor outlet line. Anti-choke

valves close to restrict the ow to keep
compressor from stonewalling. When ow
resistance in compressor outlet falls and ow
begins to increase, the anti-choke valves close to
develop resistance to the increasing ow.

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October 6, 2012

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