Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Microturbines and Small Turbomachinery

Unsteady Thrust Force Loading of a Turbocharger Rotor During Engine Operation

[+] Author and Article Information
Bernhardt Lüddecke

IHI Charging Systems International GmbH,
Heidelberg 69126, Germany
e-mail: b.lueddecke@ihi-csi.de

Philipp Nitschke

IHI Charging Systems International GmbH,
Heidelberg 69126, Germany
e-mail: p.nitschke@ihi-csi.de

Michael Dietrich

IHI Charging Systems International GmbH,
Heidelberg 69126, Germany
e-mail: m.dietrich@ihi-csi.de

Dietmar Filsinger

IHI Charging Systems International GmbH,
Heidelberg 69126, Germany
e-mail: d.filsinger@ihi-csi.de

Michael Bargende

Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and
Automotive Engineering,
University of Stuttgart,
Stuttgart 70569, Germany

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Turbomachinery Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 14, 2015; final manuscript received July 20, 2015; published online August 18, 2015. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 138(1), 012301 (Aug 18, 2015) (8 pages) Paper No: GTP-15-1286; doi: 10.1115/1.4031142 History: Received July 14, 2015; Revised July 20, 2015

The bearing system of a turbocharger has to keep the rotor in the specified position and thus has to withstand the rotor forces that result from turbocharger operation. Hence, its components need to be designed in consideration of the bearing loads that have to be expected. The applied bearing system design also has significant influence on the overall efficiency of the turbocharger and impacts the performance of the combustion engine. It has to ideally fulfill the trade-off between bearing friction and load capacity. For example, the achievable engine’s low end-torque is reduced, if the bearing system produces more friction losses than inherently unavoidable for safe and durable operation because a higher portion of available turbine power needs to be employed to compensate bearing losses instead of providing boost pressure. Moreover, also transient turbocharger rotor speed up can be compromised and hence the response of the turbocharged combustion engine to a load step becomes less performant than it could be. Besides the radial bearings, the thrust bearing is a component that needs certain attention. It can already contribute to approximately 30% of the overall bearing friction, even if no load is applied and this portion further increases under thrust load. It has to withstand the net thrust load of the rotor under all operating conditions resulting from the superimposed aerodynamic forces that the compressor and the turbine wheel produce. A challenge for the determination of the thrust forces appearing on engine is the nonsteady loading under pulsating conditions. The thrust force will alternate with the pulse frequency over an engine cycle, which is caused by both the engine exhaust gas pressure pulses on the turbine stage and—to a smaller amount—the nonsteady compressor operation due to the reciprocating operation of the cylinders. The conducted experimental investigations on the axial rotor motion as well as the thrust force alternations under on-engine conditions employ a specially prepared compressor lock nut in combination with an eddy-current sensor. The second derivative of this signal can be used to estimate the occurring thrust force changes. Moreover, a modified thrust bearing—equipped with strain gauges—was used to cross check the results from position measurement and thrust force modeling. All experimental results are compared with an analytical thrust force model that relies on the simultaneously measured, crank angle resolved pressure signals before and after the compressor and turbine stage. The results give insight into the axial turbocharger rotor oscillations occurring during an engine cycle for several engine operating points. Furthermore, they allow a judgment of the accuracy of thrust force modeling approaches that are based on measured pressures.

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Fig. 1

Standard (left) and machined, modified, strain gauge-equipped thrust bearing system

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Fig. 2

Axial rotor position detection system, consisting of a closed compressor lock nut (purple) and an eddy-current distance sensor

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Fig. 3

Engine test setup with separate turbocharger lubrication and cooling circuits as well as a separate, time-based data acquisition system for pressures, position, and strain gauge voltage

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Fig. 4

Investigated operation points in the engine map (engine load versus engine speed)

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Fig. 5

Turbocharger operation point changes during engine operation point variations: top—compressor map and bottom—turbine map

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Fig. 6

Rotor model with relevant diameters and surfaces to calculate thrust force components

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Fig. 7

Contributions of modeled forces from turbine and compressor wheel to the overall thrust alternations during the engine cycle (exemplarily for 126_03)

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Fig. 8

Comparison of modeled and measured rotor thrust alternations during the engine cycle for different engine operating points. The cycle-resolved values are offset by their cycle average values.

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Fig. 9

Measured pressures before turbine stage (solid red) and after compressor stage (dotted-dashed blue) together with the measured rotor position (dotted black)

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Fig. 10

Engine cycle resolved rotor thrust force changes: modeled forces (solid red), based on measured pressures and geometrical rotor data versus calculated thrust forces (dotted black), based on second derivative of measured rotor position and rotor mass

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Fig. 11

Cycle-resolved modeled rotor thrust forces based on measured pressures and geometrical rotor data (solid red line) versus measured axial rotor position (dotted black line)




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