Design of Inlet Guide Vane (IGV) for Centrifugal Compressors

All centrifugal compressor designers want to achieve the highest efficiency as well as wide operating range. With this in mind, the inlet guide vane (IGV) is a convenient and economic option for various applications.

IGVs are a series of blades circumferentially arranged at the inlet of compressor, driven electronically or pneumatically.By adjusting the orientation of IGVs, the air flow enters the impeller at a different direction therefore changing the flow behavior while affecting the passing mass flow rate (throttling). This can effectively reduce the power consumption to increase the compressor’s overall efficiency while avoiding surge to provide a better off design working range.

The designer needs to optimize blade profile and positioning of the IGV for efficient operation of a compressor, which can be a tedious job if one does not have a handy tool. Figure 1 shows an example of IGV working on different angles.

Example IGV Characteristic Curve
Figure 1. Example IGV Characteristic Curve

In AxSTREAM, people are able to add IGV component before the centrifugal compressor impeller which can provide different ways to edit its profile such as:

  1. Directly accessing variables in the project (grid)
  2. Meridional coordinates (in viewer, 1D/2D streamline module)
  3. Axial profiler and blade design

Figure 2 shows the interface of adding an axial IGV to your compressor.

Figure 2 How to Insert Axial IGV in AxSTREAM

After setting all data information like tip/hub diameters, number of blades, clearance, stacking mode for 3D blade, etc., you will be able to see the flow path and 3D models in a graphic interface, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3 Flow Path and 3D Model of Centrifugal Compressor with Axial IGV

Then you can include  theIGV into the calculation both in a 1D/2D module or 3D CFD module. You can also create numerical experiments, comparing design and off-design performance with different IGV profiles and angle setting.

If you want to also take into account of diffuser design, you can do so with different combination of IGV/diffuser parameters. You could also run several tens of design simultaneously in batch mode and automatically obtain the optimized design.

Contact us at for a demo of more AxSTREAM features for centrifugal compressor design.


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