Two examples of the use of vortex control to reduce noise and enhance the stable operating range of a centrifugal compressor are presented in this paper. In the case of high-flow operation of a centrifugal compressor with a vaned diffuser, a discrete frequency noise induced by interaction between the impeller-discharge flow and the diffuser vane, which appears most notably in the power spectra of the radiated noise, can be reduced using a tapered diffuser vane (TDV) without affecting the performance of the compressor. Twin longitudinal vortices produced by leakage flow passing through the tapered portion of the diffuser vane induce secondary flow in the direction of the blade surface and prevent flow separation from the leading edge of the diffuser. The use of a TDV can effectively reduce both the discrete frequency noise generated by the interaction between the impeller-discharge flow and the diffuser surface and the broadband turbulent noise component. In the case of low-flow operation, a leading-edge vortex (LEV) that forms on the shroud side of the suction surface near the leading edge of the diffuser increases significantly in size and blocks flow in the diffuser passage. The formation of an LEV may adversely affect the performance of the compressor and may cause the diffuser to stall. Using a one-side tapered diffuser vane to suppress the evolution of an LEV, the stable operating range of the compressor can be increased by more than 12 percent, and the pressure-rise characteristics of the compressor can be improved. The results of a supplementary examination of the structure and unsteady behavior of LEVs, conducted by means of detailed numerical simulations, are also presented.
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