An optimization of the inlet ring groove arrangement has been pursued in the present study for obtaining better impeller characteristics and a wider operation range at both small and large flow rates in a high specific speed type centrifugal impeller with inducer. The effects of the shape parameters with respect to the inlet ring groove on the impeller characteristic and the flow incidence were analyzed mainly based on numerical simulations, but also compared to the experimental results. At small flow rates, a significant improvement in the impeller characteristic is achieved due to reduction in the excessive-positive flow incidence by optimizing both location and width of the rear groove near the inducer tip throat. On the other hand, the impeller characteristic is improved at large flow rates by implementing the corner radius at the rear groove edge and by placing another front ring groove in the suction pipe. As a result, by the optimized configuration of the front and rear ring grooves, the unstable flow range of the test impeller can be reduced by about 50% without deterioration of the impeller characteristic even at the 125% flow rate.

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