Development and Validation of a Model for Centrifugal Compressors in Reversed Flow Regimes

Kate Powers, Ian Kennedy, Chris Brace, Paul Milewski, Colin Copeland

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Turbochargers are widely used to help reduce the environmental impact of automotive engines. However, a limiting factor for turbochargers is compressor surge. Surge is an instability that induces pressure and flow oscillations that often damages the turbocharger and its installation. Most predictions of the surge limit are based on low-order models, such as the Moore-Greitzer model. These models tend to rely on a characteristic curve for the compressor created by extrapolating the constant speed lines of a steady-state compressor map into the negative mass flow region. However, there is little validation of these assumptions in the public literature. In this article, we develop further the first-principles model for a compressor characteristic presented in Powers, K., Brace, C., Budd, C., Copeland, C., & Milewski, P., 2020, "Modeling Axisymmetric Centrifugal Compressor Characteristics From First Principles," J. Turbomachinery, 142(9), with a particular emphasis on reverse flow. We then perform experiments using a 58 mm diameter centrifugal compressor provided by Cummins Turbo Technologies, where we feed air in the reverse direction though the compressor while the impeller is spinning in the forward direction to obtain data in the negative mass flow region of the compressor map. This demonstrated experimentally that there is a stable operating region in the reverse flow regime. The recorded data showed a good match with the theoretical model developed in this article. We also identified a change in characteristic behavior as the impeller speed is increased, which, to the authors' knowledge, has not been observed in any previously published experimental work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101001
Pages (from-to)101001
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number10
Early online date24 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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