Centrifugal Compressor: The Sound of Surge

Authors: Sundström, E.S., Semlitsch, B., Mihaescu, M
Document Type: Conference
Pubstate: Published
Journal: 21st AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics Conference, Dallas, At Dallas, Texas, USA
Volume: 2015-2674   1-17
Year: 2015


When the centrifugal compressor operates at low mass flow rates (close to the unstable operating condition called surge), flow instabilities may develop and severe flow reversal may occur in the wheel passage. Under such conditions, noise generation has been reported resulting in a notable discomfort induced to the passengers in the cabin. The aim with this study is to predict the flow field associated with a centrifugal compressor and characterize the acoustic near-field generation and propagation under stable and off-design (near-surge) operating conditions. The Large Eddy Simulation (LES) approach is employed. The unsteady features in the flow field leading to acoustic noise generation are quantified by means of statistical averaging, Fourier data analysis and flow mode decomposition techniques. The decomposition method is performed inside the rotating impeller region for several stable and off-design (including surge and near-surge) operating conditions. The acoustic near-field data are presented in terms of noise directivity maps and sound pressure level spectra. For the near-surge condition an amplified broadband feature at two times the frequency of the rotating order of the shaft (possible whoosh noise) was captured. However, an amplified feature around 50% of the rotating order was captured as well. These features are present also during the investigated surge operating conditions, but occur at lower amplitudes as compared with the captured low surge frequency of 43 Hz.