Modern turbomachinery faces increased performance demands in terms of efficiency, compactness, and pressure-rise. Advancements in computational technology have allowed numerical methods to become the backbone of design development efforts. However, the unique complexities of centrifugal compressor flow-fields pose difficult computational problems. As such, advanced experimental methods must be used to obtain high-quality datasets to further inform, improve, and validate computational methods in complex flow regimes.

Recent experimental work on a high-speed centrifugal compressor has provided detailed, unsteady, three-component velocity data using Laser Doppler Velocimetry. A passage vortex is present and its nascent tied to the increased incidence at mid-span associated with impeller wake flow. This vortex begins in the hub-pressure side corner and grows to fill the passage and become temporally stable. The vortex development is unsteady in nature and the unsteady effects persist 40% downstream of the throat. Distinct jet and wake flow patterns from the impeller also do not agglomerate until 40% downstream of the throat. Additionally, the critical impact of the unsteady flow development on the time-averaged flow-field is explained.

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