Predicted and measured surface velocity and pressure distributions in the internal flow channels of a centrifugal fan impeller are presented for volume flow rates between 80 and 125 percent of design flow rate. Predictions are based on a fully three-dimensional, finite element analysis of the inviscid, incompressible blade channel flow. Additional predictions using a conventional quasi-three-dimensional analysis are presented for comparison. Experimental results were developed using extensive blade and sidewall surface pressure taps installed in a scale model of an airfoil-bladed centrifugal fan impeller designed for heavy industrial and power generation applications. The results illustrate the ability of both flow analyses to predict the dominant features of the impeller flow field, including peak blade surface velocities and adverse gradients at flows far from the design point. In addition, the experimental results provide valuable insight into the limiting channel diffusion values for typical centrifugal cascade performance, and the influence of viscous effects as seen in deviations from the ideal flow predictions.

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