# Numerical modelling of small supersonic axial flow turbines

##### Grönman, Aki (2010-08-25)

Väitöskirja

Grönman, Aki

25.08.2010

Lappeenranta University of Technology

Acta Universitatis Lappeenrantaensis 392

**Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on**

https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-214-954-1

#### Tiivistelmä

Supersonic axial turbine stages typically exhibit lower efficiencies than subsonic axial turbine stages. One reason for the lower efficiency is the occurrence of shock waves. With higher pressure ratios the flow inside the turbine becomes relatively easily supersonic if there is only one turbine stage. Supersonic axial turbines can be designed in smaller physical size compared to subsonic axial turbines of same power. This makes them good candidates for turbochargers in large diesel engines, where space can be a limiting factor. Also the production costs are lower for a supersonic axial turbine stage than for two subsonic stages. Since supersonic axial turbines are typically low reaction turbines, they also create lower axial forces to be compensated with bearings compared to high reaction turbines.

The effect of changing the stator-rotor axial gap in a small high (rotational) speed supersonic axial flow turbine is studied in design and off-design conditions. Also the effect of using pulsatile mass flow at the supersonic stator inlet is studied. Five axial gaps (axial space between stator and rotor) are modeled using threedimensional computational fluid dynamics at the design and three axial gaps at the off-design conditions. Numerical reliability is studied in three independent studies. An additional measurement is made with the design turbine geometry at intermediate off-design conditions and is used to increase the reliability of the modelling. All numerical modelling is made with the Navier-Stokes solver Finflo employing Chien’s k ¡ ² turbulence model.

The modelling of the turbine at the design and off-design conditions shows that the total-to-static efficiency of the turbine decreases when the axial gap is increased in both design and off-design conditions. The efficiency drops almost linearily at the off-design conditions, whereas the efficiency drop accelerates with increasing axial gap at the design conditions.

The modelling of the turbine stator with pulsatile inlet flow reveals that the mass flow pulsation amplitude is decreased at the stator throat. The stator efficiency and pressure ratio have sinusoidal shapes as a function of time. A hysteresis-like behaviour is detected for stator efficiency and pressure ratio as a function of inlet mass flow, over one pulse period. This behaviour arises from the pulsatile inlet flow.

It is important to have the smallest possible axial gap in the studied turbine type in order to maximize the efficiency. The results for the whole turbine can also be applied to some extent in similar turbines operating for example in space rocket engines. The use of a supersonic stator in a pulsatile inlet flow is shown to be possible.

The effect of changing the stator-rotor axial gap in a small high (rotational) speed supersonic axial flow turbine is studied in design and off-design conditions. Also the effect of using pulsatile mass flow at the supersonic stator inlet is studied. Five axial gaps (axial space between stator and rotor) are modeled using threedimensional computational fluid dynamics at the design and three axial gaps at the off-design conditions. Numerical reliability is studied in three independent studies. An additional measurement is made with the design turbine geometry at intermediate off-design conditions and is used to increase the reliability of the modelling. All numerical modelling is made with the Navier-Stokes solver Finflo employing Chien’s k ¡ ² turbulence model.

The modelling of the turbine at the design and off-design conditions shows that the total-to-static efficiency of the turbine decreases when the axial gap is increased in both design and off-design conditions. The efficiency drops almost linearily at the off-design conditions, whereas the efficiency drop accelerates with increasing axial gap at the design conditions.

The modelling of the turbine stator with pulsatile inlet flow reveals that the mass flow pulsation amplitude is decreased at the stator throat. The stator efficiency and pressure ratio have sinusoidal shapes as a function of time. A hysteresis-like behaviour is detected for stator efficiency and pressure ratio as a function of inlet mass flow, over one pulse period. This behaviour arises from the pulsatile inlet flow.

It is important to have the smallest possible axial gap in the studied turbine type in order to maximize the efficiency. The results for the whole turbine can also be applied to some extent in similar turbines operating for example in space rocket engines. The use of a supersonic stator in a pulsatile inlet flow is shown to be possible.

##### Kokoelmat

- Väitöskirjat [1025]