We were discussing various important topics based on
the basics of centrifugal compressor in our previous posts.

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Today we will be interested here to understand the
axial flow compressor construction and working principle with the help of this
post. We will see here how an axial flow compressor works and what will be the
various important components of an axial flow compressor.

After ready this post, we will have following information
about an axial flow compressor.

- Basics of axial flow compressor
- Working principle of axial flow compressor
- Difference between the axial flow compressor and centrifugal compressor
- Advantage of axial flow compressor over centrifugal compressor
- Construction of axial flow compressor
- Pressure velocity diagram for axial flow compressor

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**Axial flow compressor construction and
working principle **

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**Axial flow compressor: Brief introduction **

Axial flow compressor also works on the same principle
on which centrifugal compressor works i.e. energy will be supplied from outside
to the rotor of the compressor and this energy will be further imparted to the
working fluid i.e. air in terms of static pressure energy and kinetic energy.

Further, working fluid i.e. air will flow finally
through the diffuser where kinetic energy will also be converted in to static
pressure energy. Hence, at the outlet of compressor, there will be air with
relatively lower velocity and with high static pressure energy.

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**Axial flow compressor: Important
components **

Axial flow compressor will also have similar basic
parts such as the rotor and the stator like centrifugal compressor.

Rotor is the rotating component of the axial flow
compressor which will have the number of blades attached over its surface.
Mechanical energy will be supplied to the rotor of the compressor from outside
in the terms of external torque. Working fluid i.e. air will gain the energy
from the rotor of the compressor in terms of static pressure and kinetic
energy.

Stator of the axial flow compressor will be basically
the diffuser which will be the responsible for the diffusion process where
kinetic energy of the working fluid coming out from the rotor will be converted
in to pressure energy and therefore working fluid coming out from the diffuser
will have high static pressure with relatively lower velocity.

Hence, the working principle of axial flow compressor
is similar with the working principle of centrifugal compressor.

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**So, what is the basic difference between
the axial flow compressor and the centrifugal compressor? **

In case of axial flow compressor, flow will take place
in axial direction and in case of centrifugal compressor flow will take place
in radially outward direction.

In case of axial flow compressor, there will be number
of stages and each stage consist a rotor and a stator.

Axial flow compressor can handle a large amount of air
as compared to centrifugal compressor or we can say that flow rate in case of
axial flow compressor will be higher as compared to the centrifugal compressor.

Axial flow compressor will run more efficiently with
higher flow rate as compared to centrifugal compressor.

Weight of the axial flow compressor will be less as
compared to the weight of the respective centrifugal compressor.

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**Axial flow compressor: Construction **

Now we will see here the construction of axial flow
compressor here. There are basically two types of axial flow compressors and
these are as mentioned here in following figure.

- Drum type axial flow compressor
- Disc type axial flow compressor

Disc type axial flow compressor will be used where
lower weight will be quite important.

There will be a rotating drum in case of drum type
axial flow compressor. Rotor blades will be fixed over the surface of this
rotating drum along its circumference.

Similarly, in case of disc type axial flow compressor,
there will be one disc and rotor blades will be mounted over the surface of the
disc.

There will be stationary casing, as displayed in
following figure, stator blades will be mounted with this stationary casing of
axial flow compressor.

For an axial flow compressor, a row of rotor blades
followed by a row of stator blades will be termed as a stage.

There will be one row of inlet guide vanes which will
be upstream to the first row of rotor. Working fluid will be directed by these
inlet guide vanes in the axial direction. Working fluid will flow through the
number of rotor blades and stator blades in a direction parallel to the axis of
rotation of the drum or disc of the axial flow compressor i.e. flow will take
place in axial direction and that’s why this compressor is termed as axial flow
compressor.

There is very important point that we must know about
the designing of the axial flow compressor and that is the flow annulus area. Annulus
area will be decreasing along the direction of flow or from lower to higher
pressure end of the axial flow compressor.

You might have one question that why it is important
to have decreasing annulus area along the direction of flow.

Let us recall the continuity equation

Mass flow rate (m) = Density (ρ) x Flow annulus area
(A) x Velocity of flow (V

_{f})
When fluid flow will take place, pressure will be
increasing along the direction of flow and therefore density of fluid will be
increased. Mass flow rate i.e. m will also be constant for steady state flow
and therefore if we want to keep axial velocity of flow constant, we will have
to decrease the flow annulus area.

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**Pressure and velocity variation through a
compressor stage **

Following figure displayed here indicates the pressure
velocity variation through a compressor stage.

Working fluid will be directed by the inlet guide
vanes in the axial direction. Working fluid will flow through the number of
rotor blades and stator blades in a direction parallel to the axis of rotation
of the drum or disc of the axial flow compressor.

Pressure in the inlet guide vanes will be dropped
slightly as displayed in figure due to the frictional losses. While velocity of
flow will be increased slightly as the cross-sectional area of the inlet guide
vanes will be slightly converging type.

Once the working fluid will pass through the rotor
blades, energy will be imparted to the working fluid in terms of static pressure
energy and kinetic energy and therefore the velocity of flow and static
pressure of working fluid both will be increased and it is displayed in figure.

Further working fluid will pass through the stator
blades i.e. diffuser of the axial flow compressor. There will be the diffusion action
over there and therefore static pressure of the working fluid will be increased
and velocity of flow will be decreased.

Working fluid coming out from the stator blades will
have high static pressure with relatively lower velocity of flow.

Above diagram is the pressure velocity diagram for the
axial flow compressor.

Therefore, we have seen here the basics of axial flow
compressor, working principle of axial flow compressor, difference between the
axial flow compressor and centrifugal compressor, advantage of axial flow
compressor over centrifugal compressor, construction of axial flow compressor
and finally we have discussed that the pressure velocity diagram for axial flow
compressor.

Do you have any suggestions? Please write in comment
box and also drop your email id in the given mail box which is given at right
hand side of page for further and continuous update from www.hkdivedi.com.

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**Reference: **

Fluid Machines, By Prof S.K. Som

Image courtesy: Google

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