Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Ceramics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121301-121301-6. doi:10.1115/1.4001823.

This paper discusses the use of novel porous sound absorbent ceramic tiles as heat shields in combustion chambers with respect to their sound absorption. For this purpose, a theory describing the bulk properties of a homogeneous porous absorber layer was combined with a transfer matrix approach to account for the temperature gradient within the absorber. By means of a high temperature scenario, the maximum absorption performance and the required microscale properties of the absorber are presented.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Combustion, Fuels, and Emissions

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121501-121501-9. doi:10.1115/1.4001768.

A swirling double concentric jet is commonly used for nonpremixed gas burner application for safety reasons and to improve the combustion performance. Fuel is generally spurted at the central jet while the annular coflowing air is swirled. They are normally separated by a blockage disk where the bluff-body effects further enhance the recirculation of hot gas at the reaction zone. This paper aims to experimentally investigate the behavior of flame and flow in a double concentric jet combustor when the fuel supply is acoustically driven. Laser-light sheet assisted Mie scattering method has been used to visualize the flow, while the flame lengths were measured by a conventional photography technique. The fluctuating velocity at the jet exit was measured by a two-component laser Doppler velocimeter. Flammability and stability at first fuel tube resonant frequency are reported and discussed. The evolution of flame profile with excitation level is presented and discussed, together with the reduction in flame length. The flame in the unforced reacting axisymmetric wake is classified into three characteristic modes, which are weak swirling flame, lifted flame, and transitional reattached flame. These terms reflect their primary features of flame appearances, and when the acoustic excitation is applied, the flame behaviors change with the excitation frequency and amplitude. Four additional characteristic modes are identified; e.g., at low excitation amplitudes, wrinkling flame with a blue annular film is observed because the excitation induces vortices in the central fuel jet and hence gives rise to the wrinkling of flame. The central jet vortices become larger with the increase in excitation amplitude and thus lead to a wider and shorter flame. If the excitation amplitude is increased above a certain value, the central jet vortices change the rotation direction and pacing with the annular jet vortices. These changes in the flow field induce large turbulent intensity and mixing and therefore make the flame looks blue and short. Further increase in the excitation amplitude would lift the flame because the flow field would be dramatically modified.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121502-121502-10. doi:10.1115/1.4000806.

Linear stability analysis by means of low-order network models is widely spread in industry and academia to predict the thermoacoustic characteristics of combustion systems. Even though a vast amount of publications on this topic exist, much less is reported on the predictive capabilities of such stability analyses with respect to real system behavior. In this sense, little effort has been made on investigating if predicted critical parameter values, for which the combustion system switches from stability to instability, agree with experimental observations. Here, this lack of a comprehensive experimental validation is addressed by using a model-based control scheme. This scheme is able to actively manipulate the acoustic field of a combustion test rig by imposing quasi-arbitrary reflection coefficients. It is employed to continuously vary the downstream reflection coefficient of an atmospheric swirl-stabilized combustion test rig from fully reflecting to anechoic. By doing so, the transient behavior of the system can be studied. In addition to that, an extension of the common procedure, where the stability of an operating point is classified solely based on the presence of high amplitude pressure pulsations and their frequency, is given. Generally, the predicted growth rates are only compared with measurements with respect to their sign, which obviously lacks a quantitative component. In contrast to that, in this paper, validation of linear stability analysis is conducted by comparing calculated and experimentally determined linear growth rates of unstable modes. Besides this, experimental results and model predictions are also compared in terms of frequency of the least stable mode. Excellent agreement between computations from the model and experiments is found. The concept is also used for active control of combustion instabilities. By tuning the downstream reflectivity of the combustion test rig, thermoacoustic instabilities can be suppressed. The underlying mechanism is an increase in the acoustic energy losses across the system boundary.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121503-121503-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001825.

In this contribution, an overview of the progress in the design of an enhanced FLOX® burner is given. A fuel flexible burner concept was developed to fulfill the requirements of modern gas turbines: high specific power density, high turbine inlet temperature, and low NOx emissions. The basis for the research work is numerical simulation. With the focus on pollutant emissions, a detailed chemical kinetic mechanism is used in the calculations. A novel mixing control concept, called HiPerMix® , and its application in the FLOX® burner are presented. In view of the desired operational conditions in a gas turbine combustor, this enhanced FLOX® burner was manufactured and experimentally investigated at the DLR test facility. In the present work, experimental and computational results are presented for natural gas and natural gas+hydrogen combustion at gas turbine relevant conditions and high adiabatic flame temperatures (up to Tad=2000K). The respective power densities are PA=13.3MW/m2bar (natural gas (NG)) and PA=14.8MW/m2bar(NG+H2), satisfying the demands of a gas turbine combustor. It is demonstrated that the combustion is complete and stable and that the pollutant emissions are very low.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Controls, Diagnostics, and Instrumentation

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121601-121601-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001808.

A method of measurement selection is introduced that relies on parameter signatures to assess the identifiability of dynamic model parameters by different outputs. A parameter signature is a region in the time-scale plane wherein the sensitivity of the output with respect to one model parameter is much larger than the rest of the output sensitivities. Since a parameter signature can be extracted when the corresponding output sensitivity is independent of the others, the ability to extract parameter signatures is indicative of parameter identifiability by the output and used here for output/measurement selection. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a strategy for measurement selection by parameter signatures and to demonstrate its applicability to the transient decks of turbojet engines. The validity of the selected outputs in providing observability to all the engine model parameters is independently verified by successful estimation of parameters by nonlinear least-squares estimation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Heat Transfer

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):121901-121901-6. doi:10.1115/1.4001810.

Film cooling flow for reduction in heat flux to a gas turbine engine hot gas path component is generally assumed to be steady. However, unsteady film cooling may occur due to naturally occurring flow unsteadiness or may be induced intentionally. Analysis of pulsed or otherwise unsteady film coolant flow necessitates a reformulation of the existing steady-state technique for net heat flux reduction (NHFR). We show that addition of a cross-coupled term to the traditional steady form of the NHFR equation with time averaged quantities accounts for the unsteady effects. In the experimental technique to determine the time averaged NHFR, we present a new parameter γ to capture the combined influence of the average adiabatic effectiveness and the coupling between η and h. Measurement of γ is shown to be straightforward but requiring careful considerations beyond those required to measure η with steady film cooling.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Microturbines and Small Turbomachinery

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122301-122301-8. doi:10.1115/1.4001356.

For solar Rankine cycle combined heat and power systems for residential buildings and other small-scale applications (producing 1–10 kWe), a low manufacturing cost, robust, and durable expander is especially attractive. The Tesla-type turbine design has these desired features. This paper summarizes a theoretical exploration of the performance of a Tesla turbine as the expander in a small-scale Rankine cycle combined heat and power system. A one-dimensional idealized model of momentum transfer in the turbine rotor is presented, which can be used to predict the efficiency of the turbine for typical conditions in these systems. The model adopts a nondimensional formulation that identifies the dimensionless parameters that dictate performance features of the turbine. The model is shown to agree well with experimental performance data obtained in earlier tests of prototype Tesla turbine units. The model is used to explore the performance of this type of turbine for Rankine cycle applications using water as a working fluid. The model indicates that isentropic efficiencies above 0.75 can be achieved if the operating conditions are tailored in an optimal way. The scalability of the turbine design, and the impact of the theoretical model predictions on the development of solar combined heat and power systems are also discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122501-122501-11. doi:10.1115/1.4001054.

The problem of determining the worst-case mistuning pattern and robust maximum mistuning forced response of a mistuned bladed rotor is formulated and solved as an optimization problem. This approach is exemplified on a two-degrees-of-freedom per blade disk model, two three-degrees-of-freedom per blade disk models, and a mistuned two-stage bladed rotor. The results of the optimum search of the worst-case mistuning patterns for the lumped parameter models are analyzed, which reveals that the maximum blade forced response in a mistuned bladed disk is associated with mistuning jump, which causes strong localization of the vibration response in a particular blade. The mistuning jump-localization phenomenon has been observed for all of the numerical examples, and it is also demonstrated that the highest response was always experienced by a blade of mistuning value jump. The two- and three-degrees-of-freedom per blade disk models are also for determination of its sensitivity coefficients with respect to mistuning variation. Studies show that there is not a threshold of mistuning beyond which the maximum forced response levels off, or even drops, as the degree of mistuning is increased further. The maximum magnification factor is found to increase as the mistuning level is increased and reaches a maximum value at the upper limit of the mistuning level. The influence of the multistage coupling is revealed by comparing the results of single-stage analysis with that of the multistage case. The computed results have been compared with the Monte Carlo simulation produced, and it is demonstrated that the accuracy and efficiency of the maximum amplitude magnification factor computed by the presented method can be better than that of Monte Carlo simulations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122502-122502-7. doi:10.1115/1.4001811.

Design of a rotor-bearing system is a challenging task due to various conflicting design requirements, which should be fulfilled. This study considers an automatic optimization approach for the design of a rotor supported on tilting-pad bearings. A numerical example of a rotor-bearing system is employed to demonstrate the merits of the proposed design approach. The finite element method is used to model the rotor-bearing system, and the dynamic speed-dependent coefficients of the bearing are calculated using a bulk flow code. A number of geometrical characteristics of the rotor simultaneously with the parameters defining the configuration of tilting pad bearings are considered as design variables into the automatic optimization process. The power loss in bearings, stability criteria, and unbalance responses are defined as a set of objective functions and constraints. The complex design optimization problem is solved using heuristic optimization algorithms, such as genetic, and particle-swarm optimization. Whereas both algorithms found better design solutions than the initial design, the genetic algorithms exhibited the fastest convergence. A statistical approach was used to identify the influence of the design variables on the objective function and constraint measures. The bearing clearances, preloads and lengths showed to have the highest influence on the power loss in the chosen design space. The high performance of the best solution obtained in the optimization design suggests that the proposed approach has good potential for improving design of rotor-bearing systems encountered in industrial applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122503-122503-7. doi:10.1115/1.4001060.

The paper considers three issues in flexible rotor and magnetic bearing systems, namely, the control of rotor vibration, control of transmitted forces, and prevention of rotor contact with auxiliary bearings. An adaptive multiobjective optimization method is developed to tackle these issues simultaneously using a modified recursive adaptive controller. The proposed method involves automatic tuning of the weighting parameters in accordance with performance specifications. A two-stage weighting strategy is implemented, involving base weightings, calculated from a singular value decomposition of the system’s receptance matrices, and two adjustable weighting parameters to shift the balance between the three objective functions. The receptance matrices are functions of rotational speed and they are estimated in situ. The whole process does not require prior knowledge of the system parameters. Real-time implementation of the proposed controller is explained and tested by using an experimental flexible rotor magnetic bearing system. The rotor displacements were measured relative to the base frame using four pairs of eddy current displacement transducers. System stability is ensured through local PID controllers. The proposed adaptive controller is implemented in parallel, and the effectiveness of the weighting parameters in changing the balance between the transmitted forces and rotor vibrations is demonstrated experimentally.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122504-122504-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001066.

Air foil bearings (AFBs) have been explored for various micro- to midsized turbomachinery for decades, and many successful applications of the AFBs to small turbomachinery were also reported. As machine size increases, however, one of the critical technical challenges of AFBs is a wear on the top foil and rotor during starts/stops due to relatively heavy rotor weight compared with the size of the bearing. The wear on the foil increases with greater loading during starts/stops as a function of the coating performance. The hybrid air foil bearing (HAFB), which combines hydrodynamic pressure with hydrostatic lift, can help to minimize/eliminate the wear problem during the start/stops. This paper reports design and preliminary test results of hydrodynamically preloaded three-pad HAFB aimed for midsized airborne turbomachinery applications. Designed HAFB was manufactured and comprehensive parametric design simulations were performed using time-domain orbit simulations and frequency-domain linear perturbation analyses to predict performances of manufactured bearing. Static stiffness was measured at zero running speed to investigate the load capacity of hydrostatic operation when rotor is at stationary. The measured static stiffness showed good agreement with predictions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122505-122505-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001084.

The vibratory response amplitude of a blade under forced response conditions depends primarily on the aerodynamic excitation amplitude, on damping, and on the effects of mistuning. The work presented here targets to identify the individual contribution of these parameters to the resultant response amplitude depending on the mass flow and the resonance case. For this purpose, measurements were performed of the excitation amplitude, damping, and response amplitude for a high-speed centrifugal compressor. The inlet flow field was intentionally distorted in order to target specific excitation cases of the first main blade mode. For the compressor used, it was found that the overall damping of the first mode could be considered to be constant for any resonance case and mass flow. For this reason, case-to-case variations in the blade-averaged response amplitude were found to depend solely on the aerodynamic excitation amplitude due to inlet flow distortion. Based on an examination of the aerodynamic work distribution during resonance, zones of either excitation or damping work on the blade surface could be successfully identified. This enabled the conclusion to be drawn that energy transfer is a very localized phenomenon and may significantly change as the mass flow is altered, thereby introducing a redistribution of the blade excitation function. The effect of mistuning was shown to alter aerodynamic damping and response amplitude. However, the variation in aerodynamic damping of individual blades was relatively low, thus suggesting that blade-to-blade variation in response amplitude is primarily driven by energy localization in the sense typically experienced with coupled and mistuned structures.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122506-122506-13. doi:10.1115/1.4001296.

Three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes solutions are employed to investigate the discharge and total temperature increase characteristics of the stepped labyrinth seal with honeycomb land. First, the relations between the windage heating number and the circumferential Mach number at different Reynolds numbers for different honeycomb seals are calculated and compared with the experimental data. The obtained numerical results show that the present three-dimensional periodic model can properly predict the total temperature increase in honeycomb seals. Then, a range of pressure ratios, three inlet preswirl ratios, four sizes of honeycomb cell diameter, and nine sizes of cell depth are selected to investigate the influence of inlet preswirl ratios and honeycomb geometry sizes on the discharge and total temperature increase characteristics of the stepped labyrinth seal. It shows that the leakage rate increases with the increase in cell diameter, and the cell depth has a strong influence on the discharge behavior. However, the influence of the inlet preswirl on the leakage rate is found to be little in the present study. For the total temperature increase characteristic, the inlet preswirl ratio and pressure ratio have more pronounced influence than those of cell depth and diameter. Furthermore, the relations between the leakage rate and cell depth and diameter, as well as the relations between the windage heating power and cell depth and diameter, are not monotonic functions if the pressure ratio is kept constant.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122801-122801-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001086.

Biodiesel remains an alternative fuel of interest for use in diesel engines. A common characteristic of biodiesel, relative to petroleum diesel, is a lowered heating value (or per mass energy content of the fuel). For same torque engine comparisons, the lower heating value translates into a higher brake specific fuel consumption (amount of fuel consumed per unit of power produced). The efficiency at which fuel energy converts into work energy, however, may remain unchanged. In this experimental study, evaluating nine unique engine operating conditions, the brake fuel conversion efficiency (an assessor of fuel energy to work energy efficiency) remains unchanged between 100% petroleum diesel fuel and 100% biodiesel fuel (palm olein) at all conditions, except for high load conditions. Several parameters may affect the brake fuel conversion efficiency, including heat loss, mixture properties, pumping work, friction, combustion efficiency, and combustion timing. This article describes a study that evaluates how the aforementioned parameters may change with the use of biodiesel and petroleum diesel, and how these parameters may result in differences in the brake fuel conversion efficiency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122802-122802-7. doi:10.1115/1.4001293.

Precombustion chambers (PCCs) are an ignition technology for large bore, natural gas engines, which can extend the lean operating limit through improved combustion stability. Previous research indicates that the PCC is responsible for a significant portion of engine-out emissions, especially near the lean limit of engine operation. In this work, six concept PCC designs are developed with the objective of reducing engine-out emissions, focusing on oxides of nitrogen (NOx). The design variables include chamber geometry, chamber volume, fuel delivery, nozzle geometry, and material thermal conductivity. The concepts are tested on a single cylinder of a large bore, two-stroke cycle, lean burn, natural gas compressor engine, and the results are compared with stock PCC performance. The pollutants of interest include NOx, carbon monoxide, total hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The results indicate that PCC volume has the largest effect on the overall NOxCO tradeoff. Multiple nozzles and electronic PCC fuel control were found to enhance main chamber combustion stability, particularly at partial load conditions. The PCC influence on VOCs was insignificant; rather, VOCs were found to be heavily dependent on fuel composition.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122803-122803-10. doi:10.1115/1.4001294.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of re-entrant bowl geometry on both engine performance and combustion efficiency in a direct injection (DI), turbocharged diesel engine for heavy-duty applications. The piston bowl design is one of the most important factors that affect the air–fuel mixing and the subsequent combustion and pollutant formation processes in a DI diesel engine. The bowl geometry and dimensions, such as the pip region, bowl lip area, and toroidal radius, are all known to have an effect on the in-cylinder mixing and combustion processes. Based on the idea of enhancing diffusion combustion at the later stage of the combustion period, three different bowl geometries, namely, bowl 1 (baseline), bowl 2, and bowl 3 were selected and investigated. All the other relevant parameters, namely, compression ratio, maximum diameter of the bowl, squish clearance and injection rate were kept constant. A commercial CFD code STAR-CD was used to model the in-cylinder flows and combustion process, and experimental results of the baseline bowl were used to validate the numerical model. The simulation results show that, bowl 3 enhance the turbulence and hence results in better air-fuel mixing among all three bowls in a DI diesel engine. As a result, the indicated specific fuel consumption and soot emission reduced although the NOx emission is increased owing to better mixing and a faster combustion process. Globally, since the reduction in soot is larger (46% as regards baseline) than the increase in NOx (+15% as regards baseline), it can be concluded that bowl 3 is the best trade-off between performance and emissions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Nuclear Power

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):122901-122901-7. doi:10.1115/1.4000890.

This paper is aimed at the application of a model for simulating the dispersed turbulent flows. The presented model proceeds from a kinetic equation for the probability density function of the particle velocity distribution in turbulent flow. This approach is called the diffusion-inertia model (DIM). Applications of the model to droplet and bubble flows are presented. In the case of vaporized liquid, the interphase heat and mass transfer is introduced by adding the corresponding governing equations. This extended version of the DIM was applied to simulating the boiling water flow in a heated pipe.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Power Engineering

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):123001-123001-7. doi:10.1115/1.4001297.

Due to the liberalization of the energy markets and the globalization of coal procurement, fuel management became of substantial importance to power plant operators, which are faced with new challenges when operating with coal types different from the originally designed ones for the specific boiler. Environmental regulations, combustion behavior, possible malfunctions and low operation, and maintenance cost became of essential importance. Fouling is one of the major challenges when new coals are being used. For that purpose we initiated a comprehensive study of fouling on the water-wall tubes in a 575 MW tangential-fired pulverized-coal utility boiler. We developed a methodology to evaluate fouling propensity of coals and specifically tested two bituminous South African coals: Billiton-Prime and Anglo-Kromdraai. The methodology is based on the adherence of ash particles on the water walls. Adherence of the ash particle depends on the particle properties, temperature, and velocity vector at the boundary layer of the water walls. In turn, the flow and temperature fields were determined by computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. For CFD simulations we also needed the combustion kinetic parameters, emissivity, and thermal resistance, and they were all determined experimentally by a 50 kW test facility. Using this methodology we mapped off the locations where fouling is mostly to occur. It was found that our results fitted with the experience from the data obtained for these two coals in the Israel Electric Corporation utility boilers. The methodology developed was shown to be able to provide the fouling propensity of a certain coal, and yielded good prediction of the fouling behavior in utility boilers. Therefore, the methodology can assist in the optimization of the soot-blowing regime (location and frequency).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Technical Briefs

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):124501-124501-5. doi:10.1115/1.4001809.

In the present work, a numerical analysis has been presented to show the variations in flame structure, flame radiation, and formations of soot and NO in methane-air laminar nonpremixed flames with different CO2 dilutions of fuel. It is observed that the flame length reduces as the dilution of the fuel stream by CO2 increases while maintaining constant fuel jet velocity at the burner tip. However, the flame length remains almost unchanged with different blends of CH4 and CO2 if the burner loading (i.e., fuel flow rate×heating value of fuel) is kept constant. Both soot and NO formations decrease monotonically when the CO2 fraction in the fuel is increased. The radiation from the flame also decreases when CO2 dilution of the fuel is increased, particularly, when the fuel jet velocity is maintained constant.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2010;132(12):124502-124502-4. doi:10.1115/1.4001298.

The present regulatory requirements enforce the modification of the firing modes of existing coal-fired utility boilers and the use of coals different from those originally designed for these boilers. The reduction in SO2 and NOx emissions was the primary motivation for these changes. Powder river basin (PRB) coals, classified as subbituminous ranked coals, can lower NOx and SOx emissions from power plants due to their high volatile content and low sulfur content, respectively. On the other hand, PRB coals have also high moisture content, low heating value, and low fusion temperature. Therefore when a power plant switches from the designed coal to a PRB coal, operational challenges were encountered. A major problem that can occur when using these coals is the severe slagging and excess fouling on the heat exchanger surfaces. Not only is there an insulating effect from deposit, but there is also a change in reflectivity of the surface. Excess furnace fouling and high reflectivity ash may cause reduction in heat transfer in the furnace, which results in higher furnace exit gas temperatures (FEGTs), especially with opposite wall burners and with a single backpass. Higher FEGTs usually result in higher stack gas temperature, increasing the reheater spray flow and therefore decreasing the boiler efficiency with a higher heat rate of the unit. A successful modification of an existing unit for firing of PRB coals requires the evaluation of the following parameters: (1) capacities or limitations of the furnace size, (2) the type and arrangement of the firing system, (3) heat transfer surface, (4) pulverizers, (5) sootblowers, (6) fans, and (7) airheaters. In the present study we used a comprehensive methodology to make this evaluation for three PRB coals to be potentially fired in a 575 MW tangential-fired boiler.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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