Compressor performance maps are a key feature of gas pipeline simulations. This paper explains the physics behind centrifugal compressor performance maps. Included are the thermodynamics of gas compression, the aerodynamics of centrifugal compressors, as well as the function of important subsystems such as seals and surge control devices. Control mechanisms for centrifugal compressors are explained and their impact on performance maps are discussed. The impact of different drivers on control concepts is also addressed.

The properties of the gas to be compressed, and its impact on relevant compressor performance parameters will be analyzed, and the use of equations of state is addressed. The aerodynamic components of compressors are analyzed with regards to their impact on compressor performance.

Based on these foundations, the connection between the flow physics of gas compressors and the resulting performance maps, which represent the behavior of the device to be simulated, is drawn, and explained.

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