Optimisation of centrifugal compressors

18 January 2008

The tool makes use of an S2 ‘throughflow' calculation to provide the aerodynamic feedback, which makes the process orders of magnitude faster than a 3D CFD-based optimization process. This is a major productivity enhancement and ensures that any new design both builds on a successful empirical database and is truly optimum in the selection of design parameters. The goal is not to replace CFD in the final refinement of the design, merely to ensure that the time invested in CFD is wisely spent.


The optimising tool takes the results from PCA's 1D preliminary design tool Vista CCD and uses these to define a parameterised blade geometry, which incorporates features that are required for low mechanical stresses and simple manufacturing. This geometry is then adjusted to minimise a global objective function using Vista TF, PCA's 2D throughflow (S2) analysis tool. The adjustment is based on selection with a breeder genetic algorithm (BGA). The initial population includes "elite" designs from a database of earlier well-proven experience, and the final design is then honed with a hill-climbing method.


With the help of a suitable global objective function incorporating mechanical and aerodynamic criteria and taking into account PCA's extensive experience with the design of impellers for a wide range of applications, the new tool provides a fast screening of various design possibilities to produce an optimised geometrical input for more advanced computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and mechanical finite element (FE) analyses.

The process has been validated at PCA on impellers from a wide range of applications including small gas turbines, automotive turbocharger compressors and process compressors over a range of specific flow or specific speed. It is equally valid for both open and shrouded wheels


More details can be found in a forthcoming IGTI paper (GT2008-50561) to be presented in Berlin in June 2008 or by contacting PCA Engineers Limited.