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Research Papers

Yoon Sungho, Selmeier Rudolf, Cargill Patricia, et al. Effect of the Stator Hub Configuration and Stage Design Parameters on Aerodynamic Loss in Axial Compressors J. Turbomach. 137(9), 091001 (2015) (10 pages);   Paper No: TURBO-14-1315;   doi:10.1115/1.4029598

The choice of the stator hub configuration (i.e., cantilevered versus shrouded) is an important design decision in the preliminary design stage of an axial compressor. Therefore, it is important to understand the effect of the stator hub configuration on the aerodynamic performance. In particular, the stator hub configuration fundamentally affects the leakage flow across the stator. The effect of the stator hub configuration on the leakage flow and its consequent aerodynamic mixing loss with the main flow within the stator row is systematically investigated in this study. In the first part of the paper, a simple model is formulated to estimate the leakage loss across the stator hub as a function of fundamental stage design parameters, such as the flow coefficient, the degree of reaction, and the work coefficient, in combination with some relevant geometric parameters including the clearance/span, the pitch-to-chord ratio, and the number of seals for the shrouded geometry. The model is exercised in order to understand the effect of each of these design parameters on the leakage loss. It is found that, for a given flow coefficient and work coefficient, the leakage loss across the stator is substantially influenced by the degree of reaction. When a cantilevered stator is compared with a shrouded stator with a single seal at the same clearance, it is shown that a shrouded configuration is generally favored as a higher degree of reaction is selected, whereas a cantilevered configuration is desirable for a lower degree of reaction. Further to this, it is demonstrated that, for shrouded stators, an additional aerodynamic benefit can be achieved by using multiple seals. The second part of the paper investigates the effect of the rotating surfaces. Traditionally, only the pressure loss has been considered for stators. However, the current advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) generally includes the leakage path with associated rotating surfaces, which impart energy to the flow. It is shown that the conventional loss coefficient, based on considering only the pressure loss, is misleading when hub leakage flows are modeled in detail, because there is energy addition due to the rotation of the hub or the shroud seals for the cantilevered stator and the shrouded stator, respectively. The calculation of the entropy generation across the stator is a better measure of relative performance when comparing two different stator hub configurations with detailed CFD.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Arisi A., Xue S., Ng W. F., et al. Numerical Investigation of Aerothermal Characteristics of the Blade Tip and Near-Tip Regions of a Transonic Turbine Blade J. Turbomach. 137(9), 091002 (2015) (12 pages);   Paper No: TURBO-15-1002;   doi:10.1115/1.4029713

In modern gas turbine engines, the blade tips and near-tip regions are exposed to high thermal loads caused by the tip leakage flow. The rotor blades are therefore carefully designed to achieve optimum work extraction at engine design conditions without failure. However, very often gas turbine engines operate outside these design conditions which might result in sudden rotor blade failure. Therefore, it is critical that the effect of such off-design turbine blade operation be understood to minimize the risk of failure and optimize rotor blade tip performance. In this study, the effect of varying the exit Mach number on the tip and near-tip heat transfer characteristics was numerically studied by solving the steady Reynolds averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) equation. The study was carried out on a highly loaded flat tip rotor blade with 1% tip gap and at exit Mach numbers of Mexit = 0.85 (Reexit = 9.75 × 105) and Mexit = 1.0 (Reexit = 1.15 × 106) with high freestream turbulence (Tu = 12%). The exit Reynolds number was based on the rotor axial chord. The numerical results provided detailed insight into the flow structure and heat transfer distribution on the tip and near-tip surfaces. On the tip surface, the heat transfer was found to generally increase with exit Mach number due to high turbulence generation in the tip gap and flow reattachment. While increase in exit Mach number generally raises he heat transfer over the whole blade surface, the increase is significantly higher on the near-tip surfaces affected by leakage vortex. Increase in exit Mach number was found to also induce strong flow relaminarization on the pressure side near-tip. On the other hand, the size of the suction surface near-tip region affected by leakage vortex was insensitive to changes in exit Mach number but significant increase in local heat transfer was noted in this region.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Baltadjiev Nikola D., Lettieri Claudio, Spakovszky Zoltán S. An Investigation of Real Gas Effects in Supercritical CO2 Centrifugal Compressors J. Turbomach. 137(9), 091003 (2015) (13 pages);   Paper No: TURBO-14-1319;   doi:10.1115/1.4029616

This paper presents a comprehensive assessment of real gas effects on the performance and matching of centrifugal compressors operating in supercritical CO2. The analytical framework combines first principles based modeling with targeted numerical simulations to characterize the internal flow behavior of supercritical fluids with implications for radial turbomachinery design and analysis. Trends in gas dynamic behavior, not observed for ideal fluids, are investigated using influence coefficients for compressible channel flow derived for real gas. The variation in the properties of CO2 and the expansion through the vapor-pressure curve due to local flow acceleration are identified as possible mechanisms for performance and operability issues observed near the critical point. The performance of a centrifugal compressor stage is assessed at different thermodynamic conditions relative to the critical point using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations. The results indicate a reduction of 9% in the choke margin of the stage compared to its performance at ideal gas conditions due to variations in real gas properties. Compressor stage matching is also impacted by real gas effects as the excursion in corrected mass flow per unit area from inlet to outlet increases by 5%. Investigation of the flow field near the impeller leading edge at high flow coefficients shows that local flow acceleration causes the thermodynamic conditions to reach the vapor-pressure curve. The significance of two-phase flow effects is determined through a nondimensional parameter that relates the time required for liquid droplet formation to the residence time of the flow under saturation conditions. Applying this criterion to the candidate compressor stage shows that condensation is not a concern at the investigated operating conditions. In the immediate vicinity of the critical point however, this effect is expected to become more prominent. While the focus of this analysis is on supercritical CO2 compressors for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the methodology is directly applicable to other nonconventional fluids and applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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