Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

Development and Validation of a Three-Dimensional Multiphase Flow Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis for Journal Bearings in Steam and Heavy Duty Gas Turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
Stephan Uhkoetter1

 University of Applied Sciences Muenster, Stegerwaldstr. 39, 48565 Steinfurt, Germanyuhkoetter@fh-muenster.de

Stefan aus der Wiesche

 University of Applied Sciences Muenster, Stegerwaldstr. 39, 48565 Steinfurt, Germany

Michael Kursch, Christian Beck

 Siemens AG, Mellinghofer Str. 55, 45473 Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany


Corresponding author.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 134(10), 102504 (Aug 22, 2012) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007078 History: Received June 20, 2012; Revised June 29, 2012; Published August 22, 2012; Online August 22, 2012

The traditional method for hydrodynamic journal bearing analysis usually applies the lubrication theory based on the Reynolds equation and suitable empirical modifications to cover turbulence, heat transfer, and cavitation. In cases of complex bearing geometries for steam and heavy-duty gas turbines, this approach has its obvious restrictions in regard to detail flow recirculation, mixing, mass balance, and filling level phenomena. These limitations could be circumvented by applying a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach, resting closer to the fundamental physical laws. The present contribution reports about the state of the art of such a fully three-dimensional multiphase-flow CFD approach, including cavitation and air entrainment for high-speed turbomachinery journal bearings. It has been developed and validated using experimental data. Due to the high ambient shear rates in bearings, the multiphase-flow model for journal bearings requires substantial modifications in comparison to common two-phase flow simulations. Based on experimental data, it is found, that particular cavitation phenomena are essential for the understanding of steam and heavy-duty-type gas turbine journal bearings.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Journal bearing employed for a Siemens heavy duty gas turbine

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Figure 2

Comparison between CFD results and experimental data (validation of turbulence model)

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Figure 3

Example of a computational mesh for a radial journal bearing for a gas turbine (reflected at the axial center plane)

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Figure 4

Convergence behavior and mesh size

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Figure 5

Calculated average pressure profile

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Figure 6

Calculated filling level profile

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Figure 7

Experimental gap parameter distribution

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Figure 8

Comparison between calculated filling levels (continuous and dashed line) and measured cavitation area (dark gray-shaded areas)

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Figure 9

Comparison between (a) average circumferential pressure and (b) bearing wall temperature profiles

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Figure 10

Streamlines in the bearing with a detailed view of the oil supply pocket

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Figure 11

Detailed view of the streamlines in the oil supply pocket




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