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research-article

A NEW INDEX TO EVALUATE THE POTENTIAL DAMAGE OF A SURGE EVENT: THE SURGE SEVERITY COEFFICIENT

[+] Author and Article Information
Enrico Munari

University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
enrico.munari@unife.it

Mirko Morini

University of Parma, Parma, Italy
mirko.morini@unipr.it

Michele Pinelli

University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy
michele.pinelli@unife.it

Klaus Brun

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, USA
klaus.brun@swri.org

Sarah Simons

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, USA
sarah.simons@swri.org

Rainer Kurz

Solar Turbines Inc., San Diego, CA, USA
Kurz_Rainer_X@solarturbines.com

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041255 History: Received July 22, 2018; Revised August 03, 2018

Abstract

Industrial compressors suffer from strong aerodynamic instability that arises when low ranges of flow rate are achieved; this instability is called surge. This phenomenon creates strong vibrations and forces acting on the compressor and system. Therefore, surge is dangerous not only for aerodynamic structures but also for mechanical parts. Surge can be classified as mild, classic or deep, but operators are used to simply referring to surge, without making a distinction between the three main classes. This is one of the reasons why, when surge occurs in industrial plants, it is common practice to stop the machine to perform inspections and check if any damage occurred. Obviously, this implies maintenance costs and time, during which the machine does not operate. On the other hand, not all surge events are dangerous in terms of damage, and they can be tolerated by the mechanical structures of the compressor. Unfortunately, a method for establishing the potential damage of a surge event is not available in literature. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a formulation of a surge severity index. The surge severity index derives from an energy-force based analysis. The coefficient demonstration is carried out in this paper by means of the application of the Buckingham's Pi-theorem and a careful analysis of the causative and restorative factors of surge. Finally, some practical evaluations are shown by means of a sensitivity analysis, using simulation results of an existing model, to effectively further highlight the consistency of this coefficient for industry.

Solar Turbines Incorporated
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