An efficient diffuser is essential to a modern compressor stage, due to its significance in stage performance, durability and operability. To address the need for data that describe the complex, unsteady flow field in a vaned diffuser, Particle Image Velocity is utilized to characterize the spanwise and circumferential variations of the flow features in the vaned diffuser passage of a transonic centrifugal compressor. The spanwise variation in the diffuser flow field is further investigated by comparison of 3 different operating conditions representative of low, nominal and high loading. These data demonstrate that not only the diffuser flow field is highly dependent on the operation conditions, e.g. hub-to-shroud variation increases with loading, but also the circumferential periodicity, created by the highly three dimensional impeller discharge flow, generates a larger unsteadiness towards the hub region of the vaned diffuser.

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