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J. Turbomach. 2017;139(7):071001-071001-11. doi:10.1115/1.4035450.

Time-accurate transient blade row (TBR) simulation approaches are required when there is a close flow coupling between the blade rows, and for fundamentally transient flow phenomena such as aeromechanical analysis. Transient blade row simulations can be computationally impractical when all of the blade passages must be modeled to account for the unequal pitch between the blade rows. In order to reduce the computational cost, time-accurate pitch-change methods are utilized so that only a sector of the turbomachine is modeled. The extension of the time-transformation (TT) pitch-change method to multistage machines has recently shown good promise in predicting both aerodynamic performance and resolving dominant blade passing frequencies for a subsonic compressor, while keeping the computational cost affordable. In this work, a modified 1.5 stage Purdue transonic compressor is examined. The goal is to assess the ability of the multistage time-transformation method to accurately predict the aerodynamic performance and transient flow details in the presence of transonic blade row interactions. The results from the multistage time-transformation simulation were compared with a transient full-wheel simulation. The aerodynamic performance and detailed flow features from the time-transformation solution closely matched the full-wheel simulation at fractional of the computation cost.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(7):071002-071002-11. doi:10.1115/1.4035519.

This paper describes the flow mechanisms of rotating stall inception in a multistage axial flow compressor of an actual gas turbine. Large-scale numerical simulations of the unsteady have been conducted. The compressor investigated is a test rig compressor that was used in the development of the Kawasaki L30A industrial gas turbine. While the compressor consists of a total of 14 stages, only the front stages of the compressor were analyzed in the present study. The test data show that the fifth or sixth stages of the machine are most likely the ones leading to stall. To model the precise flow physics leading to stall inception, the flow was modeled using a very dense computational mesh, with several million cells in each passage. A total of 2 × 109 cells were used for the first seven stages (3 × 108 cells in each stage). Since the mesh was still not fine enough for large-eddy simulation (LES), a detached-eddy simulation (DES) was used. Using DES, a flow field is calculated using LES except in the near-wall where the turbulent eddies are modeled by Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes. The computational resources required for such large-scale simulations were still quite large, so the computations were conducted on the K computer (RIKEN AICS in Japan). Unsteady flow phenomena at the stall inception were analyzed using data mining techniques such as vortex identification and limiting streamline drawing with line integral convolution (LIC) techniques. In the compressor studied, stall started from a separation on the hub side rather than the commonly observed leading-edge separation near the tip. The flow phenomenon first observed in the stalling process is the hub corner separation, which appears in a passage of the sixth stator when approaching the stall point. This hub corner separation grows with time, and eventually leads to a leading-edge separation on the hub side of the stator. Once the leading-edge separation occurs, it rapidly develops into a rotating stall, causing another leading-edge separation of the neighboring blade. Finally, the rotating stall spreads to the upstream and downstream blade rows due to its large blockage effect.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(7):071003-071003-10. doi:10.1115/1.4035567.

This paper presents the work on part-speed fan flutter due to acoustic reflections from the intake, commonly called “flutter bite.” A simple model for the prediction of the flutter bite is presented. In a previous work by the authors, it was shown that the acoustic effects of the intake are very important and need to be considered during the design of a fan blade. It was also shown that the contribution to blade aerodamping due to blade motion (for the isolated rotor in an infinitely long duct) and intake acoustics is independent and can be analyzed separately. The acoustic reflections from the intake change the damping of the blade by modifying the phase and amplitude of the unsteady pressure at the leading edge of the fan. It will be shown in the paper that, for a given intake, the phase and amplitude of the reflected acoustic waves can be evaluated analytically based on established theories independent of the fan design. The proposed model requires only the design intent of the fan blade and the geometry of the intake, which are available in the early design stages of a new engine, and can predict the operating conditions at which fan flutter is likely to occur.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(7):071004-071004-8. doi:10.1115/1.4035569.

Over recent years, engine designs have moved increasingly toward low specific thrust cycles to deliver significant specific fuel consumption (SFC) improvements. Such fan blades may be more prone to aerodynamic and aeroelastic instabilities than conventional fan blades. The aim of this paper is to analyze the flutter stability of a low-speed/low pressure ratio fan blade. By using a validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model (AU3D), three-dimensional unsteady simulations are performed for a modern low-speed fan rig for which extensive measured data are available. The computational domain contains a complete fan assembly with an intake duct and the downstream outlet guide vanes (OGVs), which is a whole low-pressure (LP) domain. Flutter simulations are conducted over a range of speeds to understand flutter characteristics of this blade. Only the first flap (1F) mode is considered in this work. Measured rig data obtained by using the same fan set but with two different lengths of the intake showed a significant difference in the flutter boundary for the two intakes. AU3D computations were performed for both intakes and were used to explain this difference between the two intakes, and showed that intake reflections play an important role in flutter of this blade. This observation indicates that the experiment with the long intake used for the performance test may be misleading for flutter. In the next phase of this work, two possible modifications for increasing the flutter margin of the fan blade were explored: changing the mode shape of the blade and using acoustic liners in the casing. The results show that it is possible to increase the flutter margin of the blade by either decreasing the ratio of the twisting to plunging motion in 1F mode or by introducing deep acoustic liners in the intake. The liners have to be deep enough to attenuate the flutter pressure waves and hence influence the stability. The results indicate the importance of reflection in flutter stability of the fan blade and clearly show that intake duct needs to be included in flutter study of any fan blade.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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