Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

Experimental Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Online Water-Washing in Gas Turbine Compressors

[+] Author and Article Information
Klaus Brun

Machinery Program,
Southwest Research Institute,
6220 Culebra Road,
San Antonio, TX 78238
e-mail: klaus.brun@swri.org

Terrence A. Grimley

Fluid Dynamics & Multiphase Flow Program,
Southwest Research Institute,
6220 Culebra Road,
San Antonio, TX 78238
e-mail: terry.grimley@swri.org

William C. Foiles

BP—Exploration & Production
Technology Group,
Operations Technology Unit,
501 Westlake Park Boulevard,
Houston, TX 77079
e-mail: Bill.Foiles@bp.com

Rainer Kurz

Solar Turbines, Inc.,
Systems Analysis,
9330 Skypark Court,
San Diego, CA 92123
e-mail: kurx_rainer_x@solarturbines.com

Contributed by the Turbomachinery Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 18, 2014; final manuscript received August 5, 2014; published online November 11, 2014. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 137(4), 042605 (Apr 01, 2015) (15 pages) Paper No: GTP-14-1411; doi: 10.1115/1.4028618 History: Received July 18, 2014; Revised August 05, 2014; Online November 11, 2014

An investigation of the effectiveness of online combustion turbine axial compressor washing using various purity grade waters and commercial washing detergents was performed. For this project, blade surface fouling dirt was obtained from gas turbine axial compressor blades installed at various field sites. The dirt was analyzed to determine consistency of typical blade surface fouling materials. A representative dirt formula and blade coating procedure was developed so that comparative tests could be performed using various cleaning fluids. Dirt coated blades were installed in a wind tunnel capable of simulating compressor operating conditions. A spray nozzle upstream of the blade test section was used for washing blades with five different test liquids to determine the effectiveness or advantages of any liquid. Once this testing was completed, a similar test setup was then utilized to inject a mixture of formulated fouling dirt and the various online cleaning liquids upstream of the blade into the wind tunnel to assess redeposit characteristics. The effect of high-purity water versus regular water on fouling dirt was also studied in separate residue experiments. Results indicate that spraying cleaning fluid into a flowing air stream is a viable means of cleaning a compressor blade. Each of the fluids was able to clean the test blade at both low and high air velocities and at different blade incident angles. Within the parameters/fluids tested, the results indicate that: (1) The blade cleaning is primarily a mechanical function and does not depend on the type of fluid used for cleaning. The results showed that most of the cleaning occurs shortly after the cleaning fluid is introduced into the flow stream. (2) Dirt removed from the blades may redeposit in other areas as the cleaning fluid is evaporated. Redeposit occurred in flow recirculation zones during the cleaning tests, and heated flow tests demonstrated dirt deposit in the presence of a cleaning fluid. In addition, the type of fluid used for cleaning has no effect on the redeposit characteristics of the dirt. (3) Blade erosion was not found to be a significant issue for the short durations that online water-washing was performed. However, uncontrolled water-washing (or overspray) for extended periods of time did result in measureable leading and trailing edge blade erosions.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Boyce, M. P., and Gonzalez, F., 2005, “A Study of On-Line and Off-Line Turbine Washing to Optimize the Operation of a Gas Turbine,” ASME Paper No. GT2005-69126. [CrossRef]
Meher-Homji, C. B., Chaker, M., and Bromley, A. F., 2009, “The Fouling of Axial Flow Compressors—Causes, Effects, Susceptibility, and Sensitivity,” ASME Paper No. GT2009-59239. [CrossRef]
Vigueras Zuniga, M. O., 2007, “Analysis of Gas Turbine Compressor Fouling and Washing Online,” Ph.D. thesis, Cranfield University, Bedford, UK.
Hovland, G., and Antoine, M., 2004, “Economic Optimization of Gas Turbine Compressor Washing,” Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference, Brisbane, Australia, Sept. 26–29.
Schneider, E., Demircioglu, S., Franco, S., and Therkon, D., 2009, “Analysis of Compressor On-Line Washing to Optimize Gas Turbine Power Plant Performance,” ASME Paper No. GT2009-59356. [CrossRef]
Ogbonnaya, E. A., 2011, “Gas Turbine Performance Optimization Using Compressor Online Water-Washing Technique,” J. Eng., 3(5), pp. 500–507, available at: [CrossRef]
Kurz, R., and Brun, K., 2009, “Degradation Effects on Industrial Gas Turbines,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 131(6), p. 062401. [CrossRef]
Tarabrin, A. P., Schurovsky, V. A., Bodrov, A. I., and Stalder, J.-P., 1998, “An Analysis of Axial Compressor Fouling and a Blade Cleaning Method,” ASME J. Turbomachinery, 120(2), pp. 256–261. [CrossRef]
Parker, G. J., and Lee, P., 1972, “Studies of the Deposition of Sub-Micron Particles on Turbine Blades,” Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. Conf., 186(38), pp. 519–526. [CrossRef]
Syverud, E., Brakke, O., and Bakken, L. E., 2007, “Axial Compressor Deterioration Caused by Saltwater Ingestion,” ASME J. Turbomachinery, 129(1), pp. 119–127. [CrossRef]
Elrod, C. E., and Bettner, J. L., 1983, “Experimental Verification of an Endwall Boundary Layer Prediction Method,” Defense Technical Information Center, Ft. Belvoir, VA.
Kurz, R., and Brun, K., 2012, “Fouling Mechanisms in Axial Compressors,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 134(3), p. 032401. [CrossRef]
Mund, F. C., and Pilidis, P., 2004, “A Review of Gas Turbine Online Washing Systems,” ASME Paper No. GT2004-53224. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Example XRD spectrum for sample 7

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Example EDS results for sample 7

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Single blade test section converging and diverging sections

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Blade mounting fixture with blade installed

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Centrifugal compressor and flow section

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Top view of blade mounted in test section with Kiel probe upstream (flow is from left to right)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Mach number at blade as a function of compressor speed

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Schematic of fluid delivery system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Test section with cleaning fluid tank and spray nozzle location (flow is from right to left)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 16

Flow blockage tube (left) and nozzle (right)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 19

Blade image outlined for processing

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 20

Area of interest with threshold area indicated

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 17

Blade coating history

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 21

Image of particles found in area of interest (22.9% of projected blade area for this example)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 22

DI water blade cleaning results (tested Nov. 30)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 23

Commercial detergent blade cleaning results (tested Nov. 21)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 18

Blade mass history

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 31

Heated dirt/water injection setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 32

Redeposit tests with heated dirt/DI water mixture

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 30

Schematic of dirt injection system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 33

Redeposit tests with heated dirt/high-purity DI water mixture

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 25

High temperature air spray tests

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 26

Blade sprayed with dirt/tap water mixture in heated air stream

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 27

Blade sprayed with dirt/high-purity DI water mixture in heated air stream

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 28

Blade sprayed with dirt/commercial detergent mixture in heated air stream

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 29

Blade sprayed with dirt/gain/DI water mixture in heated air stream

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 24

Graphical summary of blade cleaning results



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In