TECHNICAL PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Oil and Gas Applications

Aerodynamic Instability and Life-Limiting Effects of Inlet and Interstage Water Injection Into Gas Turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
Klaus Brun

Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division,  Southwest Research Institute, P. O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510kbrun@swri.org

Rainer Kurz

 Solar Turbines Incorporated, 9330 Sky Park Court, San Diego, CA 92123-5398kurẕraineṟx@solarturbines.com

Harold R. Simmons

Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division,  Southwest Research Institute, P. O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510hsimmons@swri.org

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 128(3), 617-625 (Mar 01, 2004) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2135819 History: Received October 01, 2003; Revised March 01, 2004

Gas turbine power enhancement technologies, such as inlet fogging, interstage water injection, saturation cooling, inlet chillers, and combustor injection, are being employed by end users without evaluating the potentially negative effects these devices may have on the operational integrity of the gas turbine. Particularly, the effect of these add-on devices, off-design operating conditions, nonstandard fuels, and compressor degradation∕fouling on the gas turbine’s axial compressor surge margin and aerodynamic stability is often overlooked. Nonetheless, compressor aerodynamic instabilities caused by these factors can be directly linked to blade high-cycle fatigue and subsequent catastrophic gas turbine failure; i.e., a careful analysis should always proceed the application of power enhancement devices, especially if the gas turbine is operated at extreme conditions, uses older internal parts that are degraded and weakened, or uses nonstandard fuels. This paper discusses a simplified method to evaluate the principal factors that affect the aerodynamic stability of a single-shaft gas turbine’s axial compressor. As an example, the method is applied to a frame-type gas turbine and results are presented. These results show that inlet cooling alone will not cause gas turbine aerodynamic instabilities, but that it can be a contributing factor if for other reasons the machine’s surge margin is already slim. The approach described herein can be employed to identify high-risk applications and bound the gas turbine operating regions to limit the risk of blade life reducing aerodynamic instability and potential catastrophic failure.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Axial compressor performance map

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Figure 2

Operating point moving toward surge line

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Figure 3

Compressor blade failed due to flutter-induced high-cycle fatigue

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Figure 4

Surge margin versus percent air saturation

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Figure 5

Surge margin versus interstage injection

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Figure 6

Surge margin versus inlet evaporative cooling and interstage injection

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Figure 7

Surge margin versus equivalent lower heating value

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Figure 8

Degraded compressor blade

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Figure 9

Surge margin versus blade degradation

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Figure 10

Hot-section parts life fraction




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