Purdue University Graduate School
Jack Clement thesis (FINAL).pdf (5.87 MB)

Experimental and Numerical Evaluation of Stationary Diffusion System Aerodynamics in Aeroengine Centrifugal Compressors

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posted on 2024-05-03, 14:32 authored by Jack Thomas ClementJack Thomas Clement

As aircraft engine manufacturers continue to embark on their pursuit of higher-efficiency, lower-emissions gas turbines, a prevailing theme in the industry has been the increase of the engine bypass ratio. As the optimization space for engine bypass ratios trends towards smaller and smaller engine core sizes, the feasibility of centrifugal compressors as the final stage in an axial-centrifugal compressor becomes apparent due to their performance advantages at smaller scales.

This study performed an investigation into the aerodynamics of a stationary diffusion system intended for use with a final stage aeroengine centrifugal compressor using experimental and numerical techniques. Experimental work was performed at the Purdue Compressor Research Lab at Purdue University’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories. Data were collected from several iterations of rapidly prototyped, additively manufactured diffuser and deswirl parts with internal instrumentation features. Furthermore, computational work on the stage was conducted using the Ansys Turbosystem.

The goal of this research is to identify trends in stationary diffusion system designs and the geometric features that cause them. Furthermore, the ability of steady computational fluid dynamics methods to predict these changes was evaluated using two turbulence models to produce a simulation of the compressor flow field. When used in conjunction with one another, the efficient use of computational methods to identify an optimal design and rapid prototyping to validate it leads to the determination of the best diffusion system design at a lower cost and time requirement than what is otherwise currently possible.

The different geometries which were tested identified the negative effects of spanwise vane contouring on the diffuser performance and the ability of endwall divergence to augment the pressure recovery performance of a design at the expense of increased losses. A full understanding of the effect of each design parameter is enabled by iterative inclusion or exclusion of certain design parameters. Furthermore, the use of computational fluid dynamics showed that the BSLEARSM turbulence model performs reasonably well in predicting the build-to-build performance trends. However, neither the BSLEARSM nor the SST turbulence model were able to accurately identify performance trends for the deswirl. For this reason, additional work is warranted to identify an optimal set of parameters to characterize the high axial and meridional turning present in this component.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Nicole Key

Additional Committee Member 2

Carson Slabaugh

Additional Committee Member 3

Herbert Harrison III