Investigation of performance and surge behavior of centrifugal compressors through CFD simulations

University essay from KTH/Mekanik

Abstract: The use of turbocharged Diesel engines is nowadays a widespread practice in the automotive sector: heavy-duty vehicles like trucks or buses, in particular, are often equipped with turbocharged engines. An accurate study of the flow field developing inside both the main components of a turbocharger, i.e. compressor and turbine, is therefore necessary: the synergistic use of CFD simulations and experimental tests allows to fulfill this requirement. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the performance and the flow field that develops inside a centrifugal compressor for automotive turbochargers. The study is carried out by means of numerical simulations, both steady-state and transient, based on RANS models (Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations). The code utilized for the numerical simulations is Ansys CFX.   The first part of the work is an engineering attempt to develop a CFD method for predicting the performance of a centrifugal compressor which is based solely on steady-state RANS models. The results obtained are then compared with experimental observations. The study continues with an analysis of the sensitivity of the developed CFD method to different parameters: influence of both position and model used for the rotor-stator interfaces and the axial tip-clearance on the global performances is studied and quantified.   In the second part, a design optimization study based on the Design of Experiments (DoE) approach is performed. In detail, transient RANS simulations are used to identify which geometry of the recirculation cavity hollowed inside the compressor shroud (ported shroud design) allows to mitigate the backflow that appears at low mass-flow rates. Backflow can be observed when the operational point of the compressor is suddenly moved from design to surge conditions. On actual heavy-duty vehicles, these conditions may arise when a rapid gear shift is performed.

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