Research Papers

J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121001-121001-12. doi:10.1115/1.4037819.

Turbomachinery design systems are usually the jealously guarded property of large companies, and the author is not aware of any for which the source code is freely available. This paper is aimed providing a freely available system that can be used by individuals or small companies who do not have access to an in-house system. The design system is based on the three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) solver Multall, which has been developed over many years. Multall can obtain solutions for individual blade rows or for multistage machines, and it can also perform quasi-3D (Q3D) blade-to-blade calculations on a prescribed stream surface and axisymmetric throughflow calculations. Multall is combined with a one-dimensional (1D) mean-line program, Meangen, which predicts the blading parameters on a mean stream surface and writes an input file for Stagen. Stagen is a blade geometry generation and manipulation program which generates and stacks the blading, combines it into stages, and writes an input file for Multall. The system can be used to design the main blade path of all types of turbomachines. Although it cannot design complex features such as shroud seals and individual cooling holes, these features can be modeled, and their effect on overall performance predicted. The system is intended to be as simple and easy to use as possible, and the solver is also very fast compared to most CFD codes. A great deal of user experience ensures that the overall performance is reasonably well predicted for a wide variety of machines. This paper describes the system in outline and gives an example of its use. The source codes are written in FORTRAN77 and are freely available for other users to try.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121002-121002-14. doi:10.1115/1.4037756.

High-pressure (HP) nozzle guide vane (NGV) endwalls are often characterized by highly three-dimensional (3D) flows. The flow structure depends on the incoming boundary layer state (inlet total pressure profile) and the (static) pressure gradients within the vane passage. In many engine applications, this can lead to strong secondary flows. The prediction and design of optimized endwall film cooling systems is therefore challenging and is a topic of current research interest. A detailed experimental investigation of the film effectiveness distribution on an engine-realistic endwall geometry is presented in this paper. The film cooling system was a fairly conventional axisymmetric double-row configuration. The study was performed on a large-scale, low-speed wind tunnel using infrared (IR) thermography. Adiabatic film effectiveness distributions were measured using IR cameras, and tests were performed across a wide range of coolant-to-mainstream momentum-flux and mass flow ratios (MFRs). Complex interactions between coolant film and vane secondary flows are presented and discussed. A particular feature of interest is the suppression of secondary flows (and associated improved adiabatic film effectiveness) beyond a critical momentum flux ratio. Jet liftoff effects are also observed and discussed in the context of sensitivity to local momentum flux ratio. Full coverage experimental results are also compared to 3D, steady-state computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. This paper provides insights into the effects of momentum flux ratio in establishing similarity between cascade conditions and engine conditions and gives design guidelines for engine designers in relation to minimum endwall cooling momentum flux requirements to suppress endwall secondary flows.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121003-121003-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037773.

Modeling of turbulent flows in axial turbomachines is challenging due to the high spatial and temporal variability in the distribution of the strain rate components, especially in the tip region of rotor blades. High-resolution stereo-particle image velocimetry (SPIV) measurements performed in a refractive index-matched facility in a series of closely spaced planes provide a comprehensive database for determining all the terms in the Reynolds stress and strain rate tensors. Results are also used for calculating the turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) production rate and transport terms by mean flow and turbulence. They elucidate some but not all of the observed phenomena, such as the high anisotropy, high turbulence levels in the vicinity of the tip leakage vortex (TLV) center, and in the shear layer connecting it to the blade suction side (SS) tip corner. The applicability of popular Reynolds stress models based on eddy viscosity is also evaluated by calculating it from the ratio between stress and strain rate components. Results vary substantially, depending on which components are involved, ranging from very large positive to negative values. In some areas, e.g., in the tip gap and around the TLV, the local stresses and strain rates do not appear to be correlated at all. In terms of effect on the mean flow, for most of the tip region, the mean advection terms are much higher than the Reynolds stress spatial gradients, i.e., the flow dynamics is dominated by pressure-driven transport. However, they are of similar magnitude in the shear layer, where modeling would be particularly challenging.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121004-121004-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037759.

The inception and evolution of rotating stall in a high-speed centrifugal compressor are characterized during speed transients. Experiments were performed in the single stage centrifugal compressor (SSCC) facility at Purdue University and include speed transients from subidle to full speed at different throttle settings while collecting transient performance data. Results show a substantial difference in the compressor transient performance for accelerations versus decelerations. This difference is associated with the heat transfer between the flow and the hardware. The heat transfer from the hardware to the flow during the decelerations locates the compressor operating condition closer to the surge line and results in a significant reduction in surge margin during decelerations. Additionally, data were acquired from fast-response pressure transducers along the impeller shroud, in the vaneless space, and along the diffuser passages. Two different patterns of flow instabilities, including mild surge and short-length-scale rotating stall, are observed during the decelerations. The instability starts with a small pressure perturbation at the impeller leading edge (LE) and quickly develops into a single-lobe rotating stall burst. The stall cell propagates in the direction opposite of impeller rotation at approximately one-third of the rotor speed. The rotating stall bursts are observed in both the impeller and diffuser, with the largest magnitudes near the diffuser throat. Furthermore, the flow instability develops into a continuous high frequency stall and remains in the fully developed stall condition.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121005-121005-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037859.

For this work, reality effects, more precisely backward-facing steps (BFSs) and forward-facing steps (FFSs), and their influence on the flow through a two-stage two-spool turbine rig under engine-relevant conditions were experimentally investigated. The test rig consists of an high pressure (HP) and an low pressure (LP) stage, with the two rotors rotating in opposite direction with two different rotational speeds. An S-shaped transition duct, which is equipped with turning struts (so-called turning mid turbine frame (TMTF)) and making therefore a LP stator redundant, connects both stages and leads the flow from a smaller to a larger diameter. This test setup allows the investigation of a TMTF deformation, which occurs in a real aero-engine due to non-uniform warming of the duct during operation—especially during run up—and causes BFSs and FFSs in the flow path. This happens for nonsegmented ducts, which are predominantly part of smaller engines. In the case of the test rig, steps were not generated by varying temperature but by shifting the TMTF in horizontal direction while the rotor and its casing were kept in the same position. In this way, both BFSs and FFSs between duct endwalls and rotor casing could be created. In order to avoid steps further downstream of the interface between HP rotor and TMTF, the complete aft rig was moved laterally too. In this case, the aft rig incorporates among others the LP rotor, the LP rotor casing, and the deswirler downstream of the LP stage. In order to catch the influence of the steps on the whole flow field, 360 deg rake traverses were performed downstream of the HP rotor, downstream of the duct, and downstream of the LP rotor with newly designed, laser-sintered combi-rakes for the measurement of total pressure and total temperature. Only the compact design of the rakes, which can be easily realized by additive manufacturing, makes the aforementioned 360 deg traverses in this test rig possible and allows a number of radial measurements positions, which is comparable to those of a five-hole probe. To get a more detailed information about the flow, also five-hole probe measurements were carried out in three measurement planes and compared to the results of the combi-rakes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121006-121006-11. doi:10.1115/1.4037909.

Comparison of heat transfer performance of a nonaxisymmetric contoured endwall to a planar baseline endwall in the presence of leakage flow through stator–rotor rim seal interface and mateface gap is reported in this paper. Heat transfer experiments were performed on a high turning turbine airfoil passage at Virginia Tech's transonic blow down cascade facility under design conditions for two leakage flow configurations—(1) mateface blowing only, (2) simultaneous coolant injection from the upstream slot and mateface gap. Coolant to mainstream mass flow ratios (MFRs) were 0.35% for mateface blowing only, whereas for combination blowing, a 1.0% MFR was chosen from upstream slot and 0.35% MFR from mateface. A common source of coolant supply to the upstream slot and mateface plenum made sure the coolant temperatures were identical at both upstream slot and mateface gap at the injection location. The contoured endwall geometry was generated to minimize secondary aerodynamic losses. Transient infrared thermography technique was used to measure endwall surface temperature and a linear regression method was developed for simultaneous calculation of heat transfer coefficient (HTC) and adiabatic cooling effectiveness, assuming a one-dimensional (1D) semi-infinite transient conduction. Results indicate reduction in local hot spot regions near suction side as well as area averaged HTC using the contoured endwall compared to baseline endwall for all coolant blowing cases. Contoured geometry also shows better coolant coverage further along the passage. Detailed interpretation of the heat transfer results along with near endwall flow physics has also been discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121007-121007-9. doi:10.1115/1.4037858.

The paper analyzes losses and the loss generation mechanisms in a low-pressure turbine (LPT) cascade by proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) applied to measurements. Total pressure probes and time-resolved particle image velocimetry (TR-PIV) are used to determine the flow field and performance of the blade with steady and unsteady inflow conditions varying the flow incidence. The total pressure loss coefficient is computed by traversing two Kiel probes upstream and downstream of the cascade simultaneously. This procedure allows a very accurate estimation of the total pressure loss coefficient also in the potential flow region affected by incoming wake migration. The TR-PIV investigation concentrates on the aft portion of the suction side boundary layer downstream of peak suction. In this adverse pressure gradient region, the interaction between the wake and the boundary layer is the strongest, and it leads to the largest deviation from a steady loss mechanism. POD applied to this portion of the domain provides a statistical representation of the flow oscillations by splitting the effects induced by the different dynamics. The paper also describes how POD can dissect the loss generation mechanisms by separating the contributions to the Reynolds stress tensor from the different modes. The steady condition loss generation, driven by boundary layer streaks and separation, is augmented in the presence of incoming wakes by the wake–boundary layer interaction and by the wake dilation mechanism. Wake migration losses have been found to be almost insensitive to incidence variation between nominal and negative (up to −9 deg) while at positive incidence, the losses have a steep increase due to the alteration of the wake path induced by the different loading distribution.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121008-121008-12. doi:10.1115/1.4037860.

Radial flow variable nozzle turbine (VNT) enables better matching between a turbocharger and engine and can improve the engine performance as well as decrease the engine emissions, especially when the engine works at low-end operation points. With increased nozzle loading, stronger shock wave and clearance leakage flow may be generated and consequently introduces strong rotor–stator interaction between turbine nozzle and rotor, which is a key concern of rotor high-cycle fatigue (HCF) failure. With the purpose of developing a low shock wave intensity turbine nozzle, the influence of grooved vane on the shock wave characteristics is investigated in the present paper. A Schlieren visualization experiment was first carried out on a linear turbine nozzle with smooth surface and the behavior of the shock wave was studied. Numerical simulations were also performed on the turbine nozzle. Guided by the visualization and numerical simulation, grooves were designed on the nozzle surface where the shock wave was originated and numerical simulations were performed to investigate the influence of grooves on the shock wave characteristics. Results indicate that for a smooth nozzle configuration, the intensity of the shock wave increases as the expansion ratios increase, while the onset position is shifted downstream to the nozzle trailing edge. For a nozzle configuration with grooved vane, the position of the shock wave onset is shifted upstream compared to the one with a smooth surface configuration, and the intensity of the shock wave and the static pressure (Ps) distortion at the nozzle vane exit plane are significantly depressed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121009-121009-10. doi:10.1115/1.4037822.

The demand of increasing pressure ratios for modern high pressure compressors leads to decreasing blade heights in the last stages. As tip clearances (TC) cannot be reduced to any amount and minimum values might be necessary for safety reasons, the TC ratios of the last stages can reach values notably higher than current norms. This can be intensified by a compressor running in transient operations where thermal differences can lead to further growing clearances. For decades, the detrimental effects of large clearances on an axial compressor's operating range and efficiency are known and investigated. The ability of circumferential casing grooves in the rotor casing to improve the compressor's operating range has also been in the focus of research for many years. Their simplicity and ease of installation are one reason for their continuing popularity nowadays, where advanced methods to increase the operating range of an axial compressor are known. In the authors' previous paper, three different circumferential groove casing treatments were investigated in a single-stage environment in the low-speed axial research compressor at TU Dresden. One of these grooves was able to notably improve the operating range and the efficiency of the single stage compressor at very large rotor TC (5% of chord length). In this paper, the results of tests with this particular groove type in a three stage environment in the low-speed axial research compressor are presented. Two different rotor TC sizes of 1.2% and 5% of tip chord length were investigated. At the small TC, the grooves are almost neutral. Only small reductions in total pressure ratio and efficiency compared to the solid wall can be observed. If the compressor runs with large TC, it notably benefits from the casing grooves. Both, total pressure and efficiency can be improved by the grooves in a similar extent as in single stage tests. Five-hole probe measurements and unsteady wall pressure measurements show the influence of the groove on the flow field. With the help of numerical investigations, the different behavior of the grooves at the two TC sizes will be discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):121010-121010-14. doi:10.1115/1.4037910.

The effects of axial casing grooves (ACGs) on the performance and flow structures in the tip region of an axial low speed fan rotor are studied experimentally in the JHU refractive index-matched liquid facility. The four-per-passage semicircular grooves are skewed by 45 deg, overlapping partially with the blade leading edge (LE) and extending upstream. They reduce the stall flow rate by 40% compared to the same machine with a smooth endwall. Stereo-particle image velocimetry (SPIV) measurements show that the inflow into the downstream side of the grooves and the outflow from their upstream side vary periodically, peaking when the inlet is aligned with the blade pressure side (PS). This periodic suction has three effects: first, substantial fractions of the leakage flow and the tip leakage vortex (TLV) are entrained into the groove, causing a reduction in TLV strength starting from midchord. Second, the grooves prevent the formation of large-scale backflow vortices (BFVs), which are associated with the TLV, propagate from one blade passage to the next, and play a key role in the onset of rotating stall in the untreated fan. Third, the flow exiting from the grooves causes periodic variations of the relative flow angle around the blade LE, presumably affecting the blade loading. The distributions of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) provide statistical evidence that in contrast to the untreated casing, very little turbulence originating from the TLV and BFV of one blade propagates across the tip gap to the next passage.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


J. Turbomach. 2017;139(12):127001-127001-2. doi:10.1115/1.4037911.

The reported mole fractions of oxides in the ash were calculated incorrectly from the elemental composition, resulting in significant errors in the sticking probability. These errors are corrected in this erratum, and the corrected sticking probabilities are provided.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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