Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

The Impact of Reciprocating Compressor Pulsations on the Surge Margin of Centrifugal Compressors

[+] Author and Article Information
Klaus Brun

Southwest Research Institute,
e-mail: klaus.brun@swri.org

Sarah Simons

Southwest Research Institute,
e-mail: sarah.simons@swri.org

Rainer Kurz

Solar Turbines, Inc.
e-mail: rkurz@solarturbines.com

Contributed by the Turbomachinery Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received December 14, 2016; final manuscript received December 16, 2016; published online March 21, 2017. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 139(8), 082604 (Mar 21, 2017) (15 pages) Paper No: GTP-16-1585; doi: 10.1115/1.4035822 History: Received December 14, 2016; Revised December 16, 2016

Pressure pulsations into a centrifugal compressor can move its operating point into surge. This is concerning in pipeline stations where centrifugal compressors operate in series/parallel with reciprocating compressors. Sparks (1983, “On the Transient Interaction of Centrifugal Compressors and Their Piping Systems,” ASME Paper No. 83-GT-236); Kurz et al. (2006, “Pulsations in Centrifugal Compressor Installations,” ASME Paper No. GT2006-90700); and Brun et al. (2014, “Impact of the Piping Impedance and Acoustic Characteristics on Centrifugal Compressor Surge and Operating Range,” ASME J. Eng. Turbines Power, 137(3), p. 032603) provided predictions on the impact of periodic pressure pulsation on the behavior of a centrifugal compressor. This interaction is known as the “compressor dynamic response” (CDR) theory. Although the CDR describes the impact of the nearby piping system on the compressor surge and pulsation amplification, it has limited usefulness as a quantitative analysis tool, due to the lack of prediction tools and test data for comparison. Testing of compressor mixed operation was performed in an air loop to quantify the impact of periodic pressure pulsation from a reciprocating compressor on the surge margin (SM) of a centrifugal compressor. This data was utilized to validate predictions from Sparks’ CDR theory and Brun’s numerical approach. A 50 hp single-stage, double-acting reciprocating compressor provided inlet pulsations into a two-stage 700 hp centrifugal compressor. Tests were performed over a range of pulsation excitation amplitudes, frequencies, and pipe geometry variations to determine the impact of piping impedance and resonance responses. Results provided clear evidence that pulsations can reduce the surge margin of centrifugal compressors and that geometry of the piping system immediately upstream and downstream of a centrifugal compressor will have an impact on the surge margin reduction. Surge margin reductions of over 30% were observed for high centrifugal compressor inlet suction pulsation.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Kurz, R. , McKee, R. , and Brun, K. , 2006, “ Pulsations in Centrifugal Compressor Installations,” ASME Paper No. GT2006-90700.
Brun, K. , and Nored, M. , 2008, Application Guidelines for Surge Control System, Gas Machinery Research Council, Dallas, TX.
Sparks, C. R. , 1983, “ On the Transient Interaction of Centrifugal Compressors and Their Piping Systems,” ASME Paper No. 83-GT-236.
Brun, K. , Nored, M. , and Kurz, R. , 2014, “ Impact of the Piping Impedance and Acoustic Characteristics on Centrifugal Compressor Surge and Operating Range,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 137(3), p. 032603.
Brun, K. , and Kurz, R. , 2010, “ Analysis of the Effects of Pulsations on the Operational Stability of Centrifugal Compressors in Mixed Reciprocating and Centrifugal Compressor Stations,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 132(7), p. 072402. [CrossRef]
Abdel-Hamid, A. N. , 1985, “ Dynamic Response of a Centrifugal Blower to Periodic Flow Fluctuations,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 108(1), pp. 77–82.
Aust, N. , 1988, “ Ein Verfahren zur digitalen Simulation instationaerer Vorgaenge in Verdichteranlagen,” Dissertation, Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
Baldwin, R. M. , and Simmons, H. R. , 1986, “ Flow-Induced Vibration in Safety Relief Valves: Design and Troubleshooting Methods,” ASME J. Pressure Vessel Technol., 108(3), pp. 267–272.
Bar, L. C. , 1979, “ The Unsteady Response of an Axial Flow Turbomachinery Rotor to Inlet Flow Distortions,” M.S. thesis, Department of Aerospace Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
Blodgett, L. E. , 1992, “ Theoretical and Practical Design of Pulsation Damping Systems,” Flow Meas. Instrum., 3(3), pp. 203–208. [CrossRef]
Durke, R. G. , and McKee, R. J. , 1986, Identification of Pulsation Induced Orifice Metering Errors Including Gage Line Shift, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, New York.
Fletcher, C. A. J. , 1991, Computational Techniques for Fluid Dynamics, Vol. 1, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Henderson, R. E. , 1972, “ The Unsteady Attenuation of an Axial Flow Turbomachine to an Upstream Disturbance,” Ph.D. thesis, Engineering Department, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Ingard, U. , and Singhla, V. K. , 1974, “ Sound in Turbulent Pipe Flow,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 55(3), pp. 535–538. [CrossRef]
Iwasaki, M. , Ikeya, N. , Marutani, Y. , and Kitazawa, T. , 1994, “ Comparison of Turbocharger Performance Between Steady Flow and Pulsating Flow on Engines,” SAE Technical Paper 940839.
Kinsler, L. E. , Frey, A. R. , Coppens, A. B. , and Sanders, J. V. , 2000, Fundamentals of Acoustics, Wiley, New York.
Meyer, W. , 1988, “ Untersuchungen zum Einfluss von Einlaufdrallstoerungen auf das stationaere Betriebsverhalten von Turbostrahltriebwerken,” Dissertation, Universität der Bundeswehr München, Munich, Germany.
Morini, M. , Pinelli, M. , and Venturini, M. , 2006, “ Development of a One-Dimensional Modular Dynamic Model for the Simulation of Surge in Compression Systems,” ASME J. Turbomach., 129(3), pp. 437–447. [CrossRef]
Shapiro, L. , 1996, “ Performance Formulas for Centrifugal Compressors,” Solar Turbines, Washington, DC.
Smalley, A. J. , Jungbauer, D. E. , and Harris, R. E. , 1995, “ Reciprocating Compressor Reliability Issues,” 4th Process Plant Reliability Conference, Houston, TX.
Szymko, S. , Martinez-Botas, R. F. , and Pullen, K. R. , 2005, “ Experimental Evaluation of Turbocharger Turbine Performance Under Pulsating Flow Conditions,” ASME Paper No. GT2005-68878.
Wachter, J. , and Loehle, M. , 1985, Identifikation des dynamischen Uebertragungsverhaltens eines dreistufigen Radialverdichters bei saug- und druckseitiger Durchsatzvariation, Vol. 572.2, VDI Bericht, Berlin, Germany, pp. 365–379.
Yocum, A. M. , and Henderson, R. E. , 1980, “ The Effects of Some Design Parameters of an Isolated Rotor on Inlet Flow Distortions,” ASME J. Eng. Power, 102(1), pp. 178–186. [CrossRef]
Brun, K. , Deffenbaugh, D. M. , and Bowles, E. B., Jr. , 2007, “ Development of a Transient Fluid Dynamics Solver for Compression System Pulsation Analysis,” Gas Machinery Conference, Dallas, TX.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Typical pipeline compressor map and startup sequence

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Centrifugal compressor inlet velocity versus time [5]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Pulsation transmission in centrifugal compressors [3]

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Flat impedance line results in suction pressure pulse causing surge

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Downstream pipe impedance determines pressure pulse amplification

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Schematic of the test loop arrangement

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Centrifugal compressor normalized performance map

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Process and instrument diagram of test loop

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Axial compressor vibrations before and in surge conditions

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Axial vibrations versus flow at the 7000 rpm speed line

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Compressor performance map with actual surge line

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Test results of 4 Hz pulsations and flow versus test time

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Axial vibration versus flow showing difference in surge onset for cases with and without suction pulsations

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Pulsation induced operating cycle ellipse versus actual surge margin reduction

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Operating map ellipses for different pulsation frequency orders

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Pulsation frequency spectrum at the centrifugal compressor inlet for the 615 rpm (10.75 Hz) running speed case

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Pulsation flow coefficient versus surge margin reduction

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Pulsation amplification versus discharge impedance slope

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

Pulsation amplification versus discharge impedance slope

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

taps model of test loop for transient pulsation analysis

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 21

Comparison of centrifugal compressor inlet pulsation from taps predictions versus test data

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 22

Operating map ellipse with 30% of the ellipse’s area left of the surge line

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 23

Operating point surge margin versus time showing 30% of area crossing surge line




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In