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Comparison of the Axial-Flow and Radial-Flow Compressors

Axial-Flow compressors do not significantly change the direction of


the flow stream, thus Axial-Flow Compressor allows for multiple
stages. Radial-Flow Compressors can not be staged.
While the Radial-Flow Compressor has a larger Compressor
Pressure Ratio (CPR) per stage, the multi-stages of the Axial-Flow
compressor allows for a larger overall CPR.
The frontal area for a given air flow rate is smaller for an Axial-Flow
Compressor than for a Radial-Flow Compressor.
The Axial-Flow Compressor has a higher efficiency.

Disadvantages are the higher cost to manufacture the Axial-Flow


Compressor, and the Radial-flow Compressor is more durable than
the Axial-Flow Compressor.

Axial-Flow Compressors
The compressors in most gas turbine applications,
especially units over 5MW, use axial flow compressors.
An axial flow compressor is one in which the flow enters
the compressor in an axial direction (parallel with the axis
of rotation), and exits from the gas turbine, also in an axial
direction.
The axial-flow compressor compresses its working fluid by
first accelerating the fluid and then diffusing it to obtain a
pressure increase.
The fluid is accelerated by a row of rotating airfoils (blades)
called the rotor, and then diffused in a row of stationary
blades (the stator).
The diffusion in the stator converts the velocity increase
gained in the rotor to a pressure increase.

A compressor consists of several stages:


1. A combination of a rotor followed by a stator make-up a
stage in a compressor;
2. An additional row of stationary blades are frequently
used at the compressor inlet and are known as Inlet
Guide Vanes (IGV) to ensue that air enters the first-stage
rotors at the desired flow angle, these vanes are also
pitch variable thus can be adjusted to the varying flow
requirements of the engine; and
3. In addition to the stators, another diffuser at the exit of
the compressor consisting of another set of vanes further
diffuses the fluid and controls its velocity entering the
combustors and is often known as the Exit Guide Vanes
(EGV).

In an axial flow compressor, air passes from one stage to


the next, each stage raising the pressure slightly.
By producing low pressure increases on the order of 1.1:1
to 1.4:1, very high efficiencies can be obtained.
The use of multiple stages permits overall pressure
increases of up to 40:1 in some aerospace applications
and a pressure ratio of 30:1 in some Industrial applications.
The increase in gas turbine efficiency is dependent on two
basic parameters:
1. Increase in Pressure Ratio
2. Increase in Firing Temperature