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# Unit-4, Chapter-7

## Axial flow compressors

Axial flow compressor
Principal components of axial compressor
Cross section of a practical axial compressor
Air in
Air in
Fixed blades
Moving blades
Air out
Air out
Shaft
Axial flow compressor is essentially
an axial flow turbine driven in the
reverse direction.
The air turning angle is very small,
typically lower than 30
An axial flow compressor consists of
alternate rows of fixed and moving
blades. The fixed blades are attached
to the casing while the moving
blades will be on a drum driven by a
shaft.
Fixed blades function like diffusers
and hence the pressure of air
increases when it comes out of it.
The flow of air is parallel to the axis
of the shaft and hence it is called as
axial flow compressor.
Axial flow compressor
The usual type of compressor is of 50% degree of reaction in which the
static enthalpy change in the rotor (static head) is 50% of the total enthalpy
change in the stage (total head). In this case, the inlet and outlet velocity
triangles are symmetric.
Because of relatively small turning angle ( approx. 30), the pressure rise
per stage will be small.
For ideal conditions,
1
=
3.
If the fluid leaves axially, the static pressure
rise occurs entirely in the rotor blades, the stator blades causing only a
small pressure rise. Therefore R > 1.
Work done and efficiencies in compressor:
Various efficiencies and work done have been derived before. If the kinetic
energy at entry and exit of a stage are almost equal or their magnitudes are
negligible, then-
The actual work,

The ideal work,
( ) ( )
1 2 1 2
T T c h h W
p a
= =
( ) ( )
1
'
2 1
'
2
T T c h h W
p s
= =
Axial flow compressor
Then the static-to-static efficiency is,

For isentropic process, the ideal work can be expressed in terms of T
1
and
p
r
= (p
2
/p
1
) as follows:

Therefore,

( )
( )
( )
( )
1 2
1
'
2
1 2
1
'
2
T T
T T
T T c
T T c
W
W
p
p
a
s
s s

= =

q
( )

1
1
1
2
1
2

=
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
r
p
p
p
T
T
( )
(

=
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

1 1
1
1
1
'
2
1
1
'
2

r
p T
T
T
T
T
T
Hence,
( )
1 2
1
1
1
T T
p T
r
s s

q

s-s
is also known as isentropic
compression efficiency,
c.

Generally,
t-t
and
s-s
do not differ
much. Hence isentropic efficiency
of compressor is usually based on
static values
Axial flow compressor
The actual work required can be estimated as follows if
c
is known.

For the more general case, when the exit kinetic energy is significant, the
work done is,

( )
s s
r p
s s
s
a
p T c
W
W

|
.
|

\
|

= =
q q

1
1
1
( )
( )
( )
1
01
01 02
1
01
0
1
0
01
1
0 01
1 1
1
1

|
|
.
|

\
|
+

=
|
|
.
|

\
|
+ =
=
|
.
|

\
|

= =

q q
q
q q
T
T T
T c
W
p
p
T c
W
p T c
W
W
s s
p
a s s
r
r
p
a s s
s s
r p
s s
s
a
This relationship can be used
to calculate the overall pressure
rise across a compressor stage.

V
f1

V
f2

V
f3
= V
r3

V
1

V
2

V
3

V
u1

V
u2

V
r1

V
r2

2

2

3

V
u3

Axial flow compressor, Velocity triangles
Work done factor
Due to secondary flows and growth of boundary layers on the hub and
casing of the compressor flow path, the axial velocity along the blade
height will not be uniform.
In a multistage machine, this
effect is less in the first stage and
quite significant in the later
stages.
Figure shows the velocity
distribution along the blade
height in different stages of an
axial flow compressor. It can be
observed that the distortion in
the axial velocity increases with
increase in number of stages.
The result of such distortion is that the axial velocity near the hub and
tip regions is much less than the mean values while the velocity is much
higher than the mean value.
Work done factor
V
1

V
2

V
f1

V
f2

V
r1

V
r2

V
f
2

-

V
f
2

V
f
2

+

V
f
2

1

1

2

2

V
f1

V
f1

V
r2

V
r2

V
r2

V
w1

V
w2

u
u
Effect of axial velocity on the stage velocity triangles
Work done factor
We know that

In terms of blade angles, this equation can be written as

Assuming and u as constants in the equation above. The
variation in axial velocity along the blade height and corresponding velocity
triangles can be redrawn.
It can be observed from corrected velocity triangles that the work done
decreases with increase in axial velocity and vice versa. Therefore, the work
absorbing capacity is reduced in the central region of the flow passage and
increased in the hub and tip regions.
However, the expected increase in work is not obtained at the tip and hub in
actual practice due to higher losses.
Therefore the stage work is less than that given by the Eulers equation
which is based on a constant value of the axial velocity along the blade
height.
) ( . .
2 1 0 w w
V V u h D W = A =
) cot (cot . .
2 1 0
| | = A =
f
uV h D W
) cot (cot
2 1
| |
Work done factor
) cot (cot
'
2 1
0
| |
A
=
= O
f
uV
h
work s Euler
work Stage
The reduction in work absorbing capacity of the stage is taken into account
by a factor called Work done factor ().
Value of generally varies from 0.98 to 0.85 depending upon the number of
stages as shown in the figure.
Therefore the work expressions are
modified as follows:

Another form of expressing is,

capacity absorbing work Ideal
capacity absorbing work Actual
= O
Degree of Reaction, R
The degree of reaction (R) determines the
distribution of the stage pressure rise
between the rotor and the diffuser blades.
For axial compressors, R can be defined in a
number of ways: it can be expressed either in
terms of enthalpies, pressures or flow
geometry.

V
2
2
/2
V
3
2
/2
V
1
2
/2
1 3
1 2
1 3
1 2
T T
T T
h h
h h
R
stage the in enthalpy of change Actual
rotor the in enthalpy of change Actual
R

=
=
Radial Equilibrium Condition
Generally, the fluid motion through the blade rows of axial machines is
assumed to 2-dimensional. That means, radial velocities are assumed to be
absent.
But in actual practice, the flow pattern is 3-dimensional and there will be
some radial component of flow that will distort the fluid mass distribution
within blade passages.
Temporary imbalance between the
strong centrifugal forces exerted on the
fluid and radial pressures trying to
restore equilibrium are responsible for
these radial flows.
To an observer travelling with the fluid
particle, radial motion will continue till
sufficient fluid id transported (radially) to
change the pressure distribution to a
value necessary for equilibrium.
The flow in an annular passage in which there is no radial component of
velocity, whose streamlines lie in circular cylindrical surfaces and which is
axisymmetric is known as radial equilibrium flow
Radial Equilibrium Condition
V
w

Consider a small element of fluid of mass dm, shown in Figure, of unit depth
and subtending an angle d at the axis, rotating about the axis with
tangential velocity, V
w
at radius r.
The element is in radial equilibrium so
that the pressure forces balance the
centrifugal forces:

If the whirl velocity V
w
and density are
known functions of radius, the radial
pressure variation along the blade
length can be determined,

The stagnation enthalpy is,

r
V
dr
dp
w
2
1
=

r
dr
V p p
tip
hub
w hub tip
}
=
2

( )
2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2
2
0
f w f w R
V V
h
V V V
h
V
h h
+
+ =
+ +
+ = + =
=0 for radial equilibrium
Radial Equilibrium Condition
Differentiating with respect to dr and rearranging,

From the second law of thermodynamics,

dr
dV
V
dr
dV
V
dr
dh
dr
dh
f
f
w
w
+ + =
0

dp
dh Tds =
dr
dp
dr
dh
dr
ds
T

1
=
dr
dp
dr
ds
T
dr
dh

1
+ =
r
V
dr
ds
T
dr
dh
w
2
+ =
Radial Equilibrium Condition
Substituting for in the equation for ,

This can also be written as,

This is known as the radial equilibrium equation for axisymmetric
unsteady flow in a turbomachine.
dr
dh
dr
dh
0
dr
dV
V
dr
dV
V
r
V
dr
ds
T
dr
dh
f
f
w
w
w
+ + + =
2
0
dr
dV
V
dr
dV
V
r
V
dr
ds
T
dr
dh
f
f
w
w
w
+ + =
2
0
Radial Equilibrium Condition
For some condition in the flow through the compressor, the
stagnation pressure (LHS of the equation) can be assumed to be
constant along the blade height. i.e.,

Then the equation simplifies to

.
0
0
=
dr
dp
( ) ( ) 0
1
0 2 2 2
1
, , 0
2
2
2
2
2
2 2
2
2
= +
= +
(

+
= + +
f w
f
f w
w
w
f
f
w
w
w
V
dr
d
rV
dr
d
r
dr
dV
V
dr
dr
r V
dr
dV
V r
r
or
dr
dV
V
dr
dV
V
r
V