Centrifugal Compressor & Fan Design Software – AxSTREAM® Platform Overview

The AxSTREAM® platform for multidisciplinary turbomachinery design, analysis and optimization software tools provides a fully integrated and streamlined solution for the complete flow path design process of centrifugal compressors (single-stage, multi-stage and integrally-geared compressors) and radial fans. This page deals mainly with single-stage centrifugal compressors/radial fans.

Additional capabilities for multi-stage and integrally-geared centrifugal compressors include:

  • Opportunity to simulate heat exchangers/intercoolers in the flow path
  • Design, analysis and optimization of deswirlers, U-bend (return channels), secondary flows, piping losses, etc.
  • Possibility to design for and analyze/optimize different rotation speeds for groups of stages

Starting from the preliminary design (defining basic machine performance from just a few simple parameters such as geometrical constraints, inlet/outlet boundary conditions), AxSTREAM® progresses through a 1D inverse task solver optimizer, to continue with meanline (1D), axisymmetric (2D) and throughflow analysis, profiling and 3D blade design, 3D finite element analysis (FEA) for structural calculations, secondary air flow hydraulic and thermal calculations, rotor design, bearing analysis, rotor dynamics and 3D CFD calculations.

Various configurations of impeller (axial-radial, radial and diagonal, with or without splitters), diffuser (vane, vaneless, radial, with or without axial downstream stator), volute and IGV (inlet guide vane) can be selected in the conceptual design phase or inputted/changed/edited at any point of the project.

When the radial flow compressor/fan design project is finished, AxSTREAM® provides easy export of the blade geometry and its attachments (wheel and shroud) to the most common file formats allowing users to link with their existing capabilities for further analyses or creation of manufacturing drawings.

The tasks user can solve with AxSTREAM® include:

  • Design new centrifugal compressors/fans from scratch
  • Analyze existing centrifugal compressors/fans and their performance at design and off-design conditions
  • Redesign, optimize, rerate and upgrade existing centrifugal fans or compressors/components
  • Reverse engineer centrifugal compressor or fan designs
  • Troubleshoot and correct efficiency/reliability issues in existing hardware

 As a fully integrated turbomachine design software platform, the AxSTREAM® platform provides users with the full array of centrifugal compressor and centrifugal fan design software solutions, whatever the compressible or incompressible working fluid (steam, gas, mixtures, organic fluids, refrigerants, sCO2, etc.), across all of the crucial design stages for shrouded and unshrouded impellers, with or without splitters.

Loss models for profile, secondary, transient and leakages losses can be selected from a few standard ones (like Aungier), from some corrected based on SoftInWay Inc experience or even customized as desired by the users. Read on for more details about each step of the design process utilizing the AxSTREAM® Platform and take a look at some of our resources below.

Centrifugal Compressor Resources
Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Preliminary Design Software

The centrifugal compressor/fan Preliminary Design procedure is used to create thousands of machine flow path designs from scratch within seconds from a set of boundary conditions (which can be imported from AxCYCLE where the thermodynamic calculations of the cycle were performed), geometrical parameters and constraints.

AxSTREAM® can design centrifugal compressors and radial fans, with or without outlet volutes / diffusers (vanes) while selecting to specify inlet rotor metal angle or incidence angle for the conceptual design.

The Design Space Explorer allows the user to explore a set of centrifugal compressor/fan design solution points generated with the Solution Generator. This gives users the possibility to select appropriate solutions by specifying different types of machine constraints and limitations. The Preliminary Design Map features allows users to compare the performance and range of operation (including choke and surge margins) of different machines at the conceptual design level.

The Post-design module provides the user with capabilities to adjust geometric parameters all while retaining the desired boundary conditions. An S1/S2 flow path adjustment option enables users to optimize separate components for efficiency based on variation of profile chord, aspect ratio and number of blades.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Meanline & Streamline Solver Software

The Streamline solver module allows performing meanline (1D), axisymmetric (2D) or throughflow calculations of turbomachines to determine streamwise and spanwise distribution of kinematics, thermodynamics and loss parameters as well as leakages and secondary air flows for a given set of boundary conditions.

Fluid properties are calculated at each streamwise and spanwise location within the flow path for radial and mixed-flow (axial-radial) compressors and fans. Additional elements (ducts, diffusers etc.) can be specified and calculated. Moreover, heating of the working fluid through the walls of the channel can also be considered.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan DOE and Optimization Software

AxSTREAM® is fully capable of radial flow compressor and radial fan optimization calculations including through the use of a DOE approach (Design Of Experiment) in the AxPLAN module.

This module uses the meanline and streamline solvers previously mentioned to optimize a given geometry by performing various tasks. This experiment planning option can be run for any combination of input and output parameters within hundreds available.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Performance Maps Software

This AxSTREAM® module called AxMAP also uses the meanline and streamline solvers presented but in the present case they are used to automatically generate performance maps for any number of variables; this includes for example the dependency of efficiency on rotation speed and pressure ratio, the influence of throat degradation over time on machine performance, optimum IGV restagger angle for a given set of rotation speeds (study of pre-swirl), diffuser pinching phenomenon can be studied to shift range of operation, etc.

In addition to the map and AxSTREAM® project results experimental results can be stored for comparison purposes.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Profiler and Blade Design Software

The AxSTREAM®’s Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Profiler and Blade Design software module is used to create and edit 3D airfoils for full or partial channel length. A wide range of geometric tools and interactive charts allows users to configure the centrifugal radial or compressor’s blades (main blades and dependent/independent splitter blades) easily and in a short time of time.

Beta, theta and thickness distributions can be independently controlled at different sections of the radial blade with curvature monitoring. Forward and backward sweep can even be created. Leading and trailing edges can be cut-off, circular or elliptical as desired for 3D blades, ruled-surface blades, Aungier-distribution and prismatic blades. Splitter blade length and angular location can be edited.

Finalized geometries can be exported in 3D to numerous CAD, CAE formats.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Finite Element Analysis Software (FEA)

Once the aerodynamic shape of turbomachinery blades has been completed the AxSTRESS module inside AxSTREAM® can be used to perform express 3D structural, modal and harmonic analysis as well as Campbell and interference (SAFE) diagrams of the blades and their attachments (wheels and shrouds) using a finite element analysis (FEA) method.  Hot-to-cold and cold-to-hot calculations can also be performed, where applicable.

Centrifugal compressor and radial fan boundary conditions are automatically taken from the corresponding AxSTREAM® project to optimize the aero-mechanical iteration process. Blade attachments can be added to the 3D blade providing the opportunity to analyze the complete 3D model without leaving AxSTREAM®. An automated mesh generator is included inside the module which allows refinement of cells in each part of the geometry.

Post-processing capabilities are pretty extensive and allow reviewing the stress and displacement values in different directions for any calculated mode.

Upon successful analysis the blade and its attachments can be exported for additional post-processing and manufacturing drawings creation.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Computational Fluid Dynamics Software (CFD)

AxSTREAM®’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, AxCFD, can be used for 3D flow analysis in blade-to-blade channels of centrifugal compressors and radial fans, with or without splitters, for any given fluid, for subsonic, transonic and supersonic flows, using full 3D CFD formulation (Navier-Stokes, viscous with various turbulence models (standard k-e, k-e RNG, k-w, k-w SST models)). All of the data from the current AxSTREAM® project is transferred and used automatically by the AxCFD to save significant time in the pre-processing phase while preventing human errors.

The mesh quality can be controlled at multiple locations to ensure the automated, embedded mesh generator produces a high quality segmentation of the blade channels for an individual row, stage or for the entire centrifugal compressor.

Computations can be run for a given spanwise section or an axisymmetric slice throughout the domain or even for the full 3D geometry.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Volute Design

Internal and external volutes can be designed and edited in the AxSTREAM® platform whether sizing was automatically performed at the Preliminary Design stage or inputted manually.

For centrifugal compressors/fans the following types of volutes can be created, edited and analyzed:

  • Trapezoidal cross-sections
  • Circular cross-sections
  • Circular arcs cross-sections

Different display options allow keeping an eye on the geometry during the interactive editing and the final geometry can be exported to CAD formats and/or analyzed in AxSTREAM®.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Rotor Design Software

To enhance the turbomachinery design process all the way through rotor dynamics the Rotor Design module can be used.

It allows opening an AxSTREAM® project to automatically import the flow path it contains. Blade attachments can then be imported from the AxSTRESS FEA tool where they were designed so that the rotor (shaft) geometry can be generated for given materials while accounting for structural constraints.

The resulting shaft geometry and its respective materials can then be automatically recognized in the AxSTREAM® RotorDynamics tool along with the blades and their attachments which are imported as mass-inertia elements.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Bearing Analysis Software

AxSTREAM®’s Bearing software allows users to analyze detailed models of bearings of different configurations.

Steady-state, transient, and map analysis can be performed to accurately calculate the bearings different hydrodynamic and mechanical characteristics. The software features a flexible geometry configurator to model features such as pockets, lobes, oil supply channels, etc.

The static equilibrium and the bearing hydrodynamic characteristics including everything required to perform rotor dynamic calculations can be calculated for one or several rotation speeds and operation stability can be concluded.

Export of calculated projects allows automatic recognition of damping and stiffness coefficients in AxSTREAM® RotorDynamics.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan RotorDynamics Software

The AxSTREAM® RotorDynamics software performs vibrational analysis (both lateral and torsional) of axial and radial turbine rotors as well as axial and centrifugal compressor rotors, fans, turbocharger trains, generators, electric motors, etc.

This versatile software can perform several types of analysis including Static Rotor Deflection, Lateral Critical Speeds calculation, Critical Speed Maps, Damped Unbalance Response, Train Torsional Modal and Transient, and Stability calculations.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Cooling Flows & Secondary Systems Software

Centrifugal compressor secondary flows can be analyzed easily using AxSTREAM® NET. Users can benefit from a flexible modeling and representation of any fluid path and solid structure as a set of 1D elements which can be connected to form a thermal-fluid network whether the final blade geometry is known or unknown.

AxSTREAM® NET can even be used to model the entire thermal-fluid network of a complete gas turbine with compressor, extractions, injections, etc. for compressible and incompressible pure fluids and mixtures.

Centrifugal Compressor/Fan Geometry Reverse Engineering Software

AxSTREAM®’s centrifugal compressor/fan reverse engineering module, AxSLICE, is used for the extraction of profile geometry from a blade’s 3D model in STL, IGES or CURVE formats as a CAD file with surfaces or cloud of points obtained by 3D laser scan.

The recognized properties can immediately be loaded into an AxSTREAM® centrifugal compressor project to calculate its performance, kinematic and thermodynamic parameters and losses at design point and off-design conditions using the meanline solver (1D), streamline solver (2D), or AxCFD (3D). In addition stress calculations on the recognized geometry can be performed as well as rerates, upgrades, optimizations, etc.