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Compression with Inter-cooling

The net work output of a gas turbine can be increased by reducing the compressor work input.
This can be accomplished by means of multistage compression with inter-cooling. Figure below
(P-v diagram) demonstrate two possible compression paths from a specific inlet stage 1 to a
specified final pressure P2.
Path 1-2 is for an adiabatic compression. Path
1-2 corresponds to a compression with heat
transfer from the working fluid to the
The area to the left of each curve equals the
magnitude of the work per unit mass of the
respective process.
The smaller area to the left of process 1-2 indicates
that the work of this process is less than for the
adiabatic compression from1-2
This suggests that cooling a gas during compression
is advantageous in terms of the work input

Compression with Inter-cooling Con

Although cooling a gas as it is compressed would reduce the work, a heat transfer rate high
enough to effect a significant reduction in work is difficult to achieve in practice.

A practical alternative is to separate the work and heat interactions into separate processes by
letting compression take place in stages with heat exchangers called intercoolers, cooling the
gas between stages as demonstrated in the next slide.



P-v and T-s diagrams (two stage compressor with an


Process 1-c denotes an isentropic compression from stage 1 to stage c where the pressure is Pi.
In process c-d the gas is cooled at constant pressure from temperature Tc to Td. Process d-2 is
an isentropic compression to stage 2 (see the previous slide). The work input per unit of mass
flow is represented on the P-v diagram by shaded area 1-c-d-2-a-d-1. Without intercooling the
gas would be compressed isentropically in a single stage from stage 1 to stage 2 and the work
would be represented by enclosed area 1-2-a-b-1. the crosshatched area on the P-v diagram
represent the reduction in work that would be achieved with intercooling.

P-v and T-s diagrams (two stage compressor with an

inter-cooler) Con
By properly selecting Td and Pi the total work input to the compressor can be minimised. For
example, if the pressure Pi is specified, the work input would decrease (crosshatched area would
increase) as the temperature Td approaches T1 (see previous slide) .
The use of multistage compression with inter-cooling in a gas turbine plant increases the net work
Developed by reducing the compression work.
By itself, though, compression with inter-cooling would not necessary increase the thermal
efficiency of a gas turbine because the temperature of the air entering the combustion would be
The lower temperature at the compressor exit enhances the potential for regenerative, however, so
when inter-cooling is used in conjunction with regeneration, an appreciable increase in thermal
efficiency can result

Reheat and Inter-cooling

Reheat between turbines and intercooling between compressor stages provide two important
advantages: namely, the net work output is increased, and the potential for regeneration is

enhanced. When reheat and intercooling are used together with regeneration, a substantial
improvement in performance can be realised.

One such arrangement incorporating reheat, intercooling, and regeneration is shown on the
next slide

Regenerative Gas turbine with Intercooling and Reheat


Air is compressed from 100 kPa, 300 K to 1000 kPa in a two stage compressor with
inter-cooling between stages. The inter-cooling pressure is 300 kPa. The air is cooled
back to 300 K in the inter-cooler before entering the second compressor stage. Each
compressor stage is isentropic. For steady-state operation and neglecting changes in
kinetic and potential energy from the inlet to exit, determine the following:

The temperature at the exit of the second compressor stage

The total compressor work input per unit of mass flow
Repeat for a single stage of compression from the given inlet state to the final pressure