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J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081001-081001-24. doi:10.1115/1.4042652.

Mixed flow turbines (MFTs) offer potential benefits for turbocharged engines when considering off-design performance and engine transient behavior. Although the performance and use of MFTs are described in the literature, little is published on the combined impact of the cone angle and the inlet blade angle, which are the defining features of such turbines. Numerical simulations were completed using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model that was validated against experimental measurements for a baseline geometry. The mechanical impact of the design changes was also analyzed. Based on the results of the numerical study, two rotors of different blade angle and cone angle were selected and manufactured. These rotors were tested using the Queen's University Belfast (QUB) low-temperature turbine test rig, which allowed for accurate and wide-range mapping of the turbine performance to low values of the velocity ratio. The performance results from these additional rotors were used to further validate the numerical findings. The numerical model was used to understand the underlying physical reasons for the measured performance differences through detailed consideration of the flow field at the rotor inlet and to document how the loss mechanisms and secondary flow structures developed with varying rotor inlet geometry. It was observed that large inlet blade cone angles resulted in strong separation and flow blockage near the hub at off-design conditions, which greatly reduced efficiency. However, the significant rotor inertia benefits achieved with the large blade cone angles were shown to compensate for the efficiency penalties and could be expected to deliver improved transient performance in downsized automotive engine applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081002-081002-8. doi:10.1115/1.4042892.

The increasing demands on jet engines require progressive thermodynamic process parameters, which typically lead to higher aerothermal loadings and accordingly to designs with high complexity. State-of-the-art high-pressure turbine (HPT) nozzle guide vane (NGV) design involves vane profiles with three-dimensional features including a high amount of film cooling and profiled endwalls (PEWs). Typically, the specific mass flow, also called capacity, which governs the engine's operation, is set by the HPT NGV. Hence, geometric variations due to manufacturing scatter of the HPT NGV's passage can affect relevant aerodynamic quantities and the entire engine behavior. Within the traditional deterministic design approach, the influences of those geometric variations are covered by conservative assumptions and engineering experience. This paper addresses the consideration of variability due to the manufacturing of HPT NGVs through probabilistic CFD investigations. To establish a statistical database, 80 HPT NGVs are digitized with a high precision optical 3D scanning system to record the outer geometry. The vane profiles are parametrized by a section-based approach. For this purpose, traditional profile theory is combined with a novel method that enables the description of NGV profile variability taking the particular leading edge (LE) shape into account. Furthermore, the geometric variability of PEWs is incorporated by means of principle component analysis (PCA). On this basis, a probabilistic system assessment including a sensitivity analysis in terms of capacity and total pressure loss coefficient is realized. Sampling-based methods are applied to conduct a variety of 3D CFD simulations for a typical population of profile and endwall geometries. This probabilistic investigation using realistic input parameter distributions and correlations contributes to a robust NGV design in terms of relevant aerodynamic quantities.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081003-081003-11. doi:10.1115/1.4042891.

Shock control bumps can help to delay and weaken shocks, reducing loss generation and shock-induced separation and delaying stall inception for transonic turbomachinery components. The use of shock control bumps on turbomachinery blades is investigated here for the first time using 3D analysis. The aerodynamic optimization of a modern research fan blade and a highly loaded compressor blade is carried out using shock control bumps to improve their performance. Both the efficiency and stall margin of transonic fan and compressor blades may be increased through the addition of shock control bumps to the geometry. It is shown how shock-induced separation can be delayed and reduced for both cases. A significant efficiency improvement is shown for the compressor blade across its characteristic, and the stall margin of the fan blade is increased by designing bumps that reduce shock-induced separation near to stall. Adjoint surface sensitivities are used to highlight the critical regions of the blade geometries, and it is shown how adding bumps in these regions improves blade performance. Finally, the performance of the optimized geometries at conditions away from where they are designed is analyzed in detail.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081004-081004-13. doi:10.1115/1.4042728.

The present work combines experimental measurements and unsteady, three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics predictions to gain further insight into the complex flow-field within an automotive turbocharger centrifugal compressor. Flow separation from the suction surface of the main impeller blades first occurs in the mid-flow range, resulting in local flow reversal near the periphery, with the severity increasing with decreasing flow rate. This flow reversal improves leading-edge incidence over the remainder of the annulus, due to (a) reduction of cross-sectional area of forward flow, which increases the axial velocity, and (b) prewhirl in the direction of impeller rotation, as a portion of the tangential velocity of the reversed flow is maintained when it mixes with the core flow and transitions to the forward direction. As the compressor operating point enters the region where the slope of the constant speed compressor characteristic (pressure ratio versus mass flow rate) becomes positive, rotating stall cells appear near the shroud side diffuser wall. The angular propagation speed of the diffuser rotating stall cells is approximately 20% of the shaft speed, generating pressure fluctuations near 20% and 50% of the shaft frequency, which were also experimentally observed. For the present compressor and rotational speed, flow losses associated with diffuser rotating stall are likely the key contributor to increasing the slope of the constant speed compressor performance curve to a positive value, promoting the conditions required for surge instabilities. The present mild surge predictions agree well with the measurements, reproducing the amplitude and period of compressor outlet pressure fluctuations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081005-081005-12. doi:10.1115/1.4042990.

Secondary flow limits the aerodynamic loading level of turbomachinery. Vortex generators (VGs) offer the potential to attenuate secondary flow when implemented at the endwall of the blade passage. Customary design usually relies on computational fluid dynamics (CFD); however, VG geometry modeling and mesh generation are challenging. This paper presents an efficient method for designing the optimal VG layout. In this approach, first, a mathematical model (BAYC) is introduced to replace the actual VGs; hence, simulation can be carried out without detailed VG gridding. Second, an optimization procedure with response surface methods is employed to determine the optimal VG layout. To illustrate the proposed method, compressor cascades with one and three VGs are used as the test cases. The results demonstrate that the optimal VG layout may effectively weaken the secondary flow and can decrease the aerodynamic loss by 15–25% in almost all incidence angle ranges, particularly at positive incidence angles. Flow mechanism analysis indicates that VGs can enhance the boundary layer kinetic energy, thereby elevating the capability to withstand adverse pressure gradients.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2019;141(8):081006-081006-11. doi:10.1115/1.4043071.

Recent advances in gas turbine film cooling technology such as round film cooling holes embedded in craters or trenches, and shaped film cooling holes are of interest due to a marked improvement in the effectiveness of film cooling jets. Typically, shaped film cooling holes have higher manufacturing cost, while film cooling holes embedded in craters/trenches etched in thermal barrier coatings (TBC) are seen as a cost-effective alternative. In a recent numerical study Kalghatgi and Acharya (2015, “Improved Film Cooling Effectiveness With a Round Film Cooling Hole Embedded in Contoured Crater,” ASME J. Turbomach., 137(10), p. 101006) reported a novel crater shape to generate anti-counter rotating vortex pair (CRVP) beneath the film cooling jet and showed a significant improvement in film cooling performance. In the present paper, a comprehensive study of flow dynamics is presented to gain insight into the unsteady flow physics of film cooling jet issued from a round hole embedded in the contoured crater. As a baseline case, a round film cooling hole with a 35 deg inclined short delivery tube (l/D = 1.75) is used as from a previous study with freestream Reynolds number based on jet diameter set to ReD = 16,000 and density ratio of coolant to freestream fluid of ρjo = 2.0. These flow conditions are used for the cases of film cooling jet embedded in contoured crater. The results are presented for two crater depths: (i) shallow crater with 0.2D depth and (ii) deep crater with 0.75D depth. First- and second-order flow statistics are presented for all the cases, including the experimental data for baseline case from the literature. Time-averaged and instantaneous flow structures are visualized to reveal the mechanisms of anti-CRVP and attenuating CRVP. The dynamics of flow structures studied using single-point spectral analysis in the shear layer and modal analysis of three-dimensional flow field shows a loss of coherency and increased time scales of shear layer structures as the crater depth is increased, primarily due to attenuating of CRVP in the downstream vicinity of the crater. The modal analysis confirmed reduced magnitude of temperature fluctuations (hot spots) on the cooling wall compared with baseline round film cooling hole. Finally, a 2–5% additional pressure loss due to the crater is reported over the existing ≈7% loss in pressure for baseline case.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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