In today’s world, compressor operation can occur over all the four quadrants of the Head vs. Flow plot. It can occur in both axial and centrifugal compressors if the direction of flow or the sign of the pressure difference across the compressor reverses. In normal working conditions, the operating point stays inside the classical portion of the performance map, with positive flow (from impeller inlet to outlet), compression ratio higher than unity and positive torque (rotor is absorbing power). In case of failures of some parts of the system, emergency operations such ESD or transient operating conditions in general flow rate, pressure difference between inlet and outlet sections or speed can assume opposite values. Under such conditions, both compressor equipment (in particular impeller blades) and all other system devices experience unusual loading levels. Shaft torque may reverse in case of negative rotation.
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