Reciprocating Compressor Pulsations Effect on Compressor Surge Margins

September 2017, Vol. 244, No. 9

By Klaus Brun, Director, Sarah Simons, Scientist, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), San Antonio, TX, and Rainer Kurz, Manager Solar Turbines, San Diego, CA

The mixed operation of centrifugal and reciprocating compressors in a single compression plant has become common design practice over the last 20 years, as this arrangement can provide benefits for highly cyclical process profiles. Conventional thinking was that a centrifugal compressor may experience some pulsations from the reciprocating compressor when in series or from both the common suction and discharge headers, but good reciprocating compressor bottle and manifold designs would result in minimal impact on the operational stability of the centrifugal compressor. This assumption held true for small-horsepower and low-speed applications and with older, high-pressure…

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