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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Aircraft Engine

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061201-061201-9. doi:10.1115/1.4023610.

The paper describes the challenges and solution methodologies associated with the flight test and evaluation of the propulsion system for a twin-engine military legacy aircraft. Recent flight-test programs evaluated the effects of temperature distortion and biased engine inlet total temperature measurement (TT2) on engine scheduling and compressor stability margin. The challenges are associated with the limited instrumentation and the repeatability of the flight-test points. During the test program it was necessary to employ techniques to extend the usefulness of the data beyond that provided by the acquired and reduced data sets to address the challenges associated with flight-test analysis. The challenges were addressed using mathematical models, engine cycle decks, uninstalled ground-test data, computational fluid dynamics, or some combination of these. Several specific challenges and solutions are described in detail in the paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061501-061501-11. doi:10.1115/1.4023607.

This paper investigates the physical and chemical ignition delay (ID) periods in the constant volume combustion chamber of the Ignition Quality Tester (IQT). IQT was used to determine the derived cetane number (DCN) according to ASTM D6890-10a standards. The fuels tested were ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD), jet propellant-8 (JP-8), and two synthetic fuels of Sasol IPK and F-T SPK (S-8). A comparison was made between the DCN and cetane number (CN) determined according to ASTM-D613 standards. Tests were conducted under steady state conditions at a constant pressure of 21 bars and various air temperatures ranging from 778 K to 848 K. The rate of heat release (RHR) was calculated from the measured pressure trace, and a detailed analysis of the RHR trace was made particularly for the auto-ignition process. Tests were conducted to determine the physical and chemical delay periods by comparing results obtained from two tests. In the first test, the fuel was injected into air according to ASTM standards. In the second test, the fuel was injected into nitrogen. The point at which the two resultant pressure traces separated was considered to be the end of the physical delay period. The effects of the charge temperature on the total ID as defined in ASTM D6890-10a standards, as well as on the physical and chemical delays, were determined. It was noticed that the physical delay represented a significant part of the total ID over all the air temperatures covered in this investigation. Arrhenius plots were developed to determine the apparent activation energy for each fuel using different IDs. The first was based on the total ID measured according to ASTM standards. The second was the chemical delay determined in this investigation. The activation energy calculated from the total ID showed higher values for lower CN fuels except Sasol IPK. The activation energy calculated from the chemical delay period showed consistency in the increase of the activation energy with the drop in CN including Sasol IPK. The difference between the two findings could be explained by examining the sensitivity of the physical delay period of different fuels to the change in air temperature.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061502-061502-9. doi:10.1115/1.4023305.

Nonlinear analysis of thermoacoustic instability is essential for the prediction of the frequencies, amplitudes, and stability of limit cycles. Limit cycles in thermoacoustic systems are reached when the energy input from driving processes and energy losses from damping processes balance each other over a cycle of the oscillation. In this paper, an integral relation for the rate of change of energy of a thermoacoustic system is derived. This relation is analogous to the well-known Rayleigh criterion in thermoacoustics, however, it can be used to calculate the amplitudes of limit cycles and their stability. The relation is applied to a thermoacoustic system of a ducted slot-stabilized 2-D premixed flame. The flame is modeled using a nonlinear kinematic model based on the G-equation, while the acoustics of planar waves in the tube are governed by linearized momentum and energy equations. Using open-loop forced simulations, the flame describing function (FDF) is calculated. The gain and phase information from the FDF is used with the integral relation to construct a cyclic integral rate of change of energy (CIRCE) diagram that indicates the amplitude and stability of limit cycles. This diagram is also used to identify the types of bifurcation the system exhibits and to find the minimum amplitude of excitation needed to reach a stable limit cycle from another linearly stable state for single-mode thermoacoustic systems. Furthermore, this diagram shows precisely how the choice of velocity model and the amplitude-dependence of the gain and the phase of the FDF influence the nonlinear dynamics of the system. Time domain simulations of the coupled thermoacoustic system are performed with a Galerkin discretization for acoustic pressure and velocity. Limit cycle calculations using a single mode, along with twenty modes, are compared against predictions from the CIRCE diagram. For the single mode system, the time domain calculations agree well with the frequency domain predictions. The heat release rate is highly nonlinear but, because there is only a single acoustic mode, this does not affect the limit cycle amplitude. For the twenty-mode system, however, the higher harmonics of the heat release rate and acoustic velocity interact, resulting in a larger limit cycle amplitude. Multimode simulations show that, in some situations, the contribution from higher harmonics to the nonlinear dynamics can be significant and must be considered for an accurate and comprehensive analysis of thermoacoustic systems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061503-061503-11. doi:10.1115/1.4023263.

Increasing public awareness and more stringent legislation on pollutants drive gas turbine manufacturers to develop combustion systems with low NOx emissions. In combination with this demand, the gas turbines have to provide a broad range of operational flexibility to cover variations in gas composition and ambient conditions along with varying daily and seasonal energy demands and load profiles. This paper describes the development and implementation of the Alstom AEV (advanced environmental) burner, an evolution of the envorinmental (EV) burner. A continuous fuel supply to two fuel stages at any engine load simplifies the operation and provides a fast and reliable response of the combustion system during transient operation of the gas turbine. Increased turndown with low emissions is an additional advantage of the combustion system upgrade.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061601-061601-7. doi:10.1115/1.4023492.

Steady-state port flow simulations were carried out with a commercial three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code using Cartesian mesh with cut cells to study the prediction accuracy. The accuracy is assessed by comparing predicted and measured mass-flow rate and swirl and tumble torques at various valve lifts using different boundary condition setup and mesh topology relative to port orientation. The measured data are taken from standard steady-state flow bench tests of a production intake port. The predicted mass-flow rates agree to within 1% with the measured data between the intermediate and high valve lifts. At low valve lifts, slight overprediction in mass-flow rate can be observed. The predicted swirl and tumble torques are within 25% of the flow bench measurements. Several meshing parameters were examined in this study. These include: inlet plenum shape and outlet plenum/extension size, embedded sphere with varying minimum mesh size, finer meshes on port and valve surface, orientation of valve, and port centerline relative to the mesh lines. For all model orientations examined, only the mesh topology with the valve axis aligned closely with the mesh lines can capture the mass-flow rate drop for very high valve lifts due to flow separation. This study further demonstrated that it is possible to perform 3D CFD flow analyses to adequately simulate steady-state flow bench tests.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061602-061602-8. doi:10.1115/1.4023493.

The objective of this investigation was to compare the results of metallurgical temperature sensors and thermocouples when used to measure piston temperatures in a running engine. Type J thermocouples and a microwave wireless telemetry system were used to gather real time temperature data on the piston in the vicinity of each metallurgical sensor. Eight pairs of metallurgical temperature sensors were installed in the piston with a thermocouple junction in-between. The engine was ramped up to steady state quickly and then held for approximately 4 h at 1800 rpm and 1980 Nm before being quickly ramped back down in accordance with the metallurgical sensors' recommended test cycle. During the test, continuous temperature data at each of the sensor locations were monitored and recorded using the telemetry system. After the test was complete, the metallurgical temperature sensors were removed and independently analyzed. The results indicate that readings from the metallurgical temperature sensors were similar to those of the embedded thermocouples for locations without large thermal gradients. However, when thermal gradients were present, the metallurgical sensor's reading was influenced measurably.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Heat Transfer

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061901-061901-10. doi:10.1115/1.4023534.

Small (10–100 kW) and micro (0.5–10 kW) Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) power systems are nowadays considered for local and domestic power generation. Especially interesting are micropower applications for heat recovery from dispersed low potential (85–150 °C) waste and renewable heat sources. Designing and implementing an ORC system dedicated to energy recovery from such a source is difficult. A proper working fluid must be selected together with a suitable expander. Volumetric machines can be adopted as a turbine alternative in small-capacity applications under development, like, e.g., domestic cogeneration. Scroll and screw expanders are a common choice. However, scroll and screw expanders are complicated and expensive. Vane expanders are mechanically simple, commercially available and cheap. This paper documents a study providing the preliminary analysis of the possibility of employing vane-expanders in mini-ORC systems. The main objective of this research was therefore a comprehensive analysis of the use of a vane expander for continuous operation with a low-boiling working fluid. A test-stand was designed and set up starting from system models based on thermodynamic analysis. Then, a series of experiments was performed using the test-stand. Results of these experiments are presented here, together with a model of multivane expanders and a thermodynamic-based method to select the working fluid. The analysis presented in this paper indicates that multivane expanders are a cheap and mechanically simple alternative to other expansion devices proposed for small-capacity ORC systems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):061902-061902-10. doi:10.1115/1.4023261.

Local endwall heat transfer characteristics and overall pressure loss of normal and inclined pin fins arrayed in rectangular ducts with flat and wavy endwalls have been investigated to improve the cooling efficiency of jet engine combustor liners. The detailed time-mean local Nusselt number profiles were measured using a naphthalene sublimation method based on the heat/mass transfer analogy. Four kinds of angled pin fins (−45, 0, and +45 deg with a flat endwall, and −45 deg with a wavy endwall) were tested and compared with each other. As a result, the average heat transfer coefficient on the flat endwall of normal pin fins was higher than that of the angled pin fins. The average heat transfer coefficient of −45-deg inclined pin fins with a wavy endwall is the same or a little higher than the heat transfer coefficient of those with a flat endwall; however, the pressure loss of the −45-deg inclined pin fins with a wavy endwall is less than the pressure loss of those with a flat endwall. Corresponding numerical simulations using large eddy simulation (LES) with the mixed time scale (MTS) model have been also conducted at Red = 1000 for fully developed regions, and the results have shown good quantitative agreement with mass transfer experiments. It can be concluded that wavy endwalls can realize better heat transfer with less pressure loss as long as the aim consists in enhancing endwall heat transfer in inclined pin-fin channels.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Industrial & Cogeneration

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062001-062001-10. doi:10.1115/1.4023611.

This paper summarizes the findings from research studies carried out over the last 30 years, to better understand the flows in steam turbine low pressure exhaust hoods and diffusers. The work aims to highlight the areas where further study is still required. A detailed description of the flow structure is outlined and the influence of the last turbine stage and the hood geometry on loss coefficient is explored. At present, the key challenge faced is numerically modeling the three-dimensional, unsteady, transonic, wet steam exhaust hood flow given the impractically high computational power requirement. Multiple calculation simplifications to reduce the computational demand have been successfully verified with experimental data, but at present there is no ‘best-practice’ approach to reduce the computational time for routine design exercises. This paper highlights the importance of coupling the exhaust hood to the last stage steam turbine blades to capture the interaction; ensuring the total pressure and swirl angle profiles, along with the tip leakage jet are accurately applied to the diffuser inlet. The nonaxial symmetry of the exhaust hood means it is also important to model the full blade annulus. More studies have emerged modeling the wet steam and unsteady flow effects, but more work is required in this area to fully understand the impact on the flow structure.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062002-062002-7. doi:10.1115/1.4023613.

Partially premixed combustion has the potential of high efficiency and simultaneous low soot and NOx emissions. Running the engine in partially premixed combustion mode with high octane number fuels has the advantage of a longer premix period of fuel and air which reduces soot emissions, even at higher loads. The problem is the ignitability at low load and idle operating conditions. The objective is to investigate different multiple-injection strategies in order to further expand the low load limit and reduce the dependency on negative valve overlap in order to increase efficiency. The question is, what is the minimum attainable load for a given setting of negative valve overlap and fuel injection strategy. The experimental engine is a light duty diesel engine equipped with a fully flexible valve train system. The engine is run without boost at engine speed 800 rpm. The fuel is 87 RON gasoline. A turbocharger is typically used to increase the boost pressure, but at low engine speed and load the available boost is expected to be limited. The in-cylinder pressure and temperature around top-dead-center will then be too low to ignite high octane number fuels. A negative valve overlap can be used to extend the low engine speed and load operating region. But one of the problems with negative valve overlap is the decrease in gas-exchange efficiency due to heat-losses from recompression of the residual gases. Also, the potential temperature increase from the trapped hot residual gases is limited at low load due to the low exhaust gas temperature. In order to expand the low load operating region further, more advanced injection strategies are investigated.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Manufacturing, Materials, and Metallurgy

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062101-062101-8. doi:10.1115/1.4023606.

Advanced 9–12%Cr martensitic stainless steels to enable extension of steam turbine operating temperatures beyond 565 °C have been under development since the 1980s. Steam turbines with operating temperatures approaching 600 °C based on the first generation of these improved alloys, which exploited optimized levels of Mo, W, V, Nb, and N, entered service in the 1990s. Around the same time, a second generation of advanced alloys was developed incorporating additions of Co and B to further enhance creep strength. These alloys have recently been exploited to enable steam turbines with operating temperatures of up to 620 °C, and this new generation of steam turbines is now beginning to enter service. This paper describes the background to the development of these alloys and the experience gained in their application to the manufacture of high temperature rotor forgings and castings.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062102-062102-10. doi:10.1115/1.4023262.

In turbomachinery, depositing abradable coatings along the circonference of casings is recognized as a robust solution which combines the adjustment of operating clearances with the reduction of nonrepairable damages potentially affecting the rotating blades. Accordingly, the modeling of the removal process experienced by these materials is of growing industrial importance. Based on a numerical strategy detailed in a previous publication by the authors, the present study aims at describing the mechanical behavior of abradable coatings used within turbomachines in the context of translational high-speed interactions with a rigid tool. The developed plastic constitutive law macroscopically capturing the abradable material removal is first enriched to account for its strain rate dependence. Then, a sensitivity analysis with respect to a few parameters of interest is conducted and calibration of the numerical investigation with existing experimental data validates the proposed approach. Finally, the strain-rate dependence of the viscoplastic law implemented within a full numerical three-dimensional rotor/stator interaction is addressed. Results reveal that viscoplastic terms have minor effects in turbomachinery interactions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062501-062501-10. doi:10.1115/1.4023232.

Misalignment in turbomachinery is commonly thought to produce two-times running-speed (2N) response. The source of 2N vibration response was investigated, starting with the development of finite-element models for three flexible disk-pack couplings (four-bolt, six-bolt, and eight-bolt couplings). Parallel and angular misalignments were analyzed. The resultant lateral stiffness terms had 1N, 2N, and 3N harmonic components versus the shaft rotation angle. The four-bolt coupling had large 1N stiffness components under angular and parallel misalignment. The six-bolt coupling had only a 1N reaction component under angular misalignment, while parallel misalignment showed a strong 2N reaction component, larger than either the 1N or 3N components. Under angular misalignment, the eight-bolt model produced large 1N reaction components. Under parallel misalignment, it produced 1N, 2N, and 3N components that were similar in magnitude. All the couplings behaved linearly in the range studied. Some experts attribute observed 2N response to nonlinear bearing forces produced by bearings at high unit loads. Static tests for a five-pad tilting-pad journal bearing with unit loads up to 34.5 bars produced small 2N motion components that did not grow with increasing unit load. A Jeffcott-rotor model with shaft stiffness orthotropy and a fixed-direction side load predicts that 2N response depends on three related factors: (1) the degree of orthotropy (the 1N stiffness variation magnitude), (2) the magnitude of the side load, and (3) the relative ratio of running speed to rotor first natural frequency, (ω/ωn). The 2N response magnitude is largest when ω is close to ωn/2. The side load is required to create 2N response due to shaft stiffness orthotropy. Misaligned couplings create precisely the same (very old) physical model as a two-pole turbogenerator rotor with a gravity side load (gravity critical speed). The response of a two-rotor/coupling system with parallel and angular misalignment was simulated using a time-transient code. When the frequency ratio was 0.5, the system response with the four-bolt and six-bolt coupling had a synchronous 1N component as well as a significant 2N component. Parallel misalignment at a coupling produces stiffness orthotropy and a fixed-direction side load. For ranges of running speed near ωn/2, these two elements can combine to produce 2N response.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062502-062502-12. doi:10.1115/1.4023490.

Twin screw pumps are positive displacement machines. Two meshing screws connected by timing gears push the fluid trapped in the screw cavities axially from suction to discharge. Available steady state hydraulic models predict pump performance and axial pressure distribution in the chambers in single- and two-phase flow conditions. However, no model is available for their rotordynamics behavior. Due to the helix angle of the screw, the pressure distribution around the rotor is not balanced, giving rise to both static and dynamic lateral forces. The work presented here introduces a starting point for rotordynamic analysis of twin screw pumps. First, we show that the screw rotor's geometry can be represented by axisymmetric beam elements. Second, we extend the steady state hydraulic model to predict both the static and dynamic lateral forces resulting from the unbalanced pressure field. Finally, hydraulic forces are applied to the rotor to predict static, synchronous, and nonsynchronous responses. Predictions of the dynamic pressure were compared to measurements from the literature and were found to be in good agreement.

Topics: Pressure , Screws , Pumps , Rotors , Geometry
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):062801-062801-8. doi:10.1115/1.4023464.

A cavitation model has been developed for the internal two-phase flow of diesel and biodiesel fuels in fuel injectors under high injection pressure conditions. The model is based on the single-fluid mixture approach with newly derived expressions for the phase change rate and local mean effective pressure—the two key components of the model. The effects of the turbulence, compressibility, and wall roughness are accounted for in the present model and model validation is carried out by comparing the model predictions of probable cavitation regions, velocity distribution, and fuel mass flow rate with the experimental measurement available in literature. It is found that cavitation inception for biodiesel occurs at a higher injection pressure, compared to diesel, due to its higher viscosity. However, supercavitation occurs for both diesel and biodiesel at high injection pressures. The renormalization group (RNG) k-ɛ model for turbulence modeling is reasonable by comparing its performance with the realizable k-ɛ and the shear stress transport (SST) k-ω models. The effect of liquid phase compressibility becomes considerable for high injection pressures. Wall roughness is not an important factor for cavitation in fuel injectors.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Design Innovation Papers

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(6):065001-065001-7. doi:10.1115/1.4023233.

This paper describes efforts required to operate a cogeneration facility's extraction-condensing steam turbine generators with flexible rotor design on a slow-roll mode of operation (also called true stand-by). Slow-roll mode of operation became necessary due to changing steam demand from the host refinery, resulting in decreased performance of the steam turbine generators and their associated economic losses. Design modifications implemented to achieve slow-roll of steam turbine generators without affecting reliability and availability of the entire cogeneration facility are discussed in this paper. Successful implementation of the design modifications was demonstrated via extensive field testing on two steam turbine generator units during the summer of 2011. A simple life cycle economic analysis shows the payback period for the project is approximately seven months.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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