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research-article

Performance Testing of an Axial Flow Fan Designed for Air-Cooled Heat Exchanger Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Wilkinson

Departement of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, 7602, South Africa
mikebrierswilkinson@gmail.com

Sybrand J. van der Spuy

Departement of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, 7602, South Africa
sjvdspuy@sun.ac.za

Theodor W. von Backström

Departement of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, 7602, South Africa
twvb@sun.ac.za

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041010 History: Received June 26, 2018; Revised July 10, 2018

Abstract

An axial flow fan developed in previous study is tested in order to characterise its performance. The M-fan, a 7.3152 m diameter rotor only axial flow fan was designed to perform well under the challenging operating conditions encountered in air-cooled heat exchangers. Preliminary CFD results indicate that the fan meets the specified performance targets. Several fan configurations are tested experimentally in order to ascertain the effect of tip clearance, blade angle and hub configuration on fan performance. A scaled 1.542 m diameter model of the M-fan is tested on an ISO 5801 type A fan test facility. A RANS CFD model representing the M-fan in the test facility is also developed in order to provide additional insight into the flow field in the vicinity of the fan blades. Experimental data indicates that the M-fan does not meet the pressure requirement set out in the initial study, at the design blade setting angle. Increasing the blade angle is shown to improve the total-to-static pressure rise and efficiency obtained at the operating point. The M-fan is also shown to be highly sensitive to increasing tip gap effects, however tip losses are also shown to be overestimated by the CFD simulations. Results indicate that the M-fan is suited to its intended application, however its opperating configuration should be adjusted. Hub configuration is also shown to have an influence on fan performance, potentially improving performance at low flow rates.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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