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.

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Fig. 1

Typical pipeline compressor map and startup sequence

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Fig. 2

Centrifugal compressor inlet velocity versus time [5]

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Fig. 3

Pulsation transmission in centrifugal compressors [3]

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Fig. 4

Flat impedance line results in suction pressure pulse causing surge

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Fig. 5

Downstream pipe impedance determines pressure pulse amplification

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Fig. 6

Schematic of the test loop arrangement

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Fig. 7

Centrifugal compressor normalized performance map

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Fig. 8

Process and instrument diagram of test loop

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Fig. 11

Compressor performance map with actual surge line

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Fig. 10

Axial vibrations versus flow at the 7000 rpm speed line

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Fig. 9

Axial compressor vibrations before and in surge conditions

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Fig. 15

Operating map ellipses for different pulsation frequency orders

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Fig. 14

Pulsation induced operating cycle ellipse versus actual surge margin reduction

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Fig. 13

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

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Fig. 12

Test results of 4 Hz pulsations and flow versus test time

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Fig. 17

Pulsation flow coefficient versus surge margin reduction

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Fig. 16

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

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Fig. 22

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

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Fig. 23

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

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Fig. 19

Pulsation amplification versus discharge impedance slope

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Fig. 18

Pulsation amplification versus discharge impedance slope

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Fig. 20

taps model of test loop for transient pulsation analysis

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Fig. 21

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



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