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Research Papers

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102101-102101-6. doi:10.1115/1.4025006.

Lower thermal conductivity and high temperature stability are the two properties which are highly desired from ceramic top coat materials in thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems. Gadolinium zirconate, Gd2Zr2O7 (GdZ) and dyprosia stabilized zirconia (DySZ) are two of the candidate materials with such properties and consequently the TBC system would be able to work at higher turbine inlet temperature (TIT) or the lifetime can be increased. In the present study, lifetime measurements are done for single and double layered electron beam physical vapor deposition (EB-PVD) GdZ and DySZ samples by thermal-cycling tests. The double layered TBCs consisted of a thin 7YSZ layer and, on top, the new candidate material. Both single and double layered samples of GdZ and DySZ have shown similar or better lifetimes than the standard 7YSZ samples. However, single layered TBCs showed better lifetime results than the respective double layers. In this study, changes in the microstructure, diffusion of elements and sintering of the TBC materials with aging are observed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Cycle Innovations

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101701-101701-10. doi:10.1115/1.4025003.

A thermoeconomic model of a novel hybrid solar gas-turbine power plant with an air-based bottoming cycle has been developed, allowing its thermodynamic, economic, and environmental performance to be analyzed. Multi-objective optimization has been performed to identify the trade-offs between two conflicting objectives: minimum capital cost and minimum specific CO2 emissions. In-depth thermoeconomic analysis reveals that the additional bottoming cycle significantly reduces both the levelized cost of electricity and the environmental impact of the power plant (in terms of CO2 emissions and water consumption) when compared to a simple gas-turbine power plant without bottoming cycle. Overall, the novel concept appears to be a promising solution for sustainable power generation, especially in water-scarce areas.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102102-102102-7. doi:10.1115/1.4024959.

In modern turbomachinery, abradable materials are implemented on casings to reduce operating tip clearances and mitigate direct unilateral contact occurrences between rotating and stationary components. However, both experimental and numerical investigations revealed that blade/abradable interactions may lead to blade failures. In order to comprehend the underlying mechanism, an accurate modeling of the abradable removal process is required. Time-marching strategies where the abradable removal is modeled through plasticity are available but another angle of attack is proposed in this work. It is assumed that the removal of abradable liners shares similarities with machine tool chatter encountered in manufacturing. Chatter is a self-excited vibration caused by the interaction between the machine and the workpiece through the cutting forces and the corresponding dynamics are efficiently captured by delay differential equations. These equations differ from ordinary differential equations in the sense that previous states of the system are involved in the formulation. This mathematical framework is employed here for the exploration of the blade stability during abradable removal. The proposed tool advantageously features a reduced computational cost and consistency with existing time-marching solution methods. Potentially dangerous interaction regimes are accurately predicted and instability lobes match both the flexural and torsional modal responses. Essentially, the regenerative nature of chatter in machining processes can also be attributed to abradable coating removal in turbomachinery.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Aircraft Engine

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101201-101201-7. doi:10.1115/1.4025007.

Gas turbine (GT) engines employed in natural gas compressor stations operate in different modes depending on the power, turbine inlet temperature, and shaft speeds. These modes apply different sequencing of bleed valve opening on the air compressor side of the engine. Improper selection of the GT and the driven centrifugal gas compressor operating conditions can lead to larger bleed losses due to wider bleed valve openings. The bleed loss inevitably manifests itself in the form of higher overall heat rate of the GT and greater engine emission. It is, therefore, imperative to determine and understand the engine and process conditions that drive the GT to operate in these different modes. The ultimate objective is to operate the engine away from the inefficient modes by adjusting the driven gas compressor parameters as well as the overall station operating conditions (i.e., load sharing, control set points, etc.). This paper describes a methodology to couple the operating conditions of the gas compressor to the modes of GT bleed valve opening (and the subsequent air bleed rates) leading to identification of the operating parameters for optimal performance (i.e., best overall efficiency and minimum CO2e emission). A predictive tool is developed to quantify the overall efficiency loss as a result of the different bleed opening modes and map out the condition on the gas compressor characteristics. One year's worth of operating data taken from two different compressor stations on TransCanada Pipelines' Alberta system were used to demonstrate the methodology. The first station employs a GE-LM1600 gas turbine driving a Cooper Rolls-RFBB-30 centrifugal compressor. The second station employs a GE-LM-2500+ gas turbine driving NP PCL-800/N compressor. The analysis conclusively indicates that there are operating regions on the gas compressor maps where losses due to bleed valves are reduced and, hence, CO2 emissions are lowered, which presents an opportunity for operation optimization.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102601-102601-9. doi:10.1115/1.4025038.

Indirect combustion noise originates from the acceleration of nonuniform temperature or high vorticity regions when convected through a nozzle or a turbine. In a recent contribution (Giauque et al., 2012, “Analytical Analysis of Indirect Combustion Noise in Subcritical Nozzles,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbies Power, 134(11), p. 111202) the authors have presented an analytical thermoacoustic model providing the indirect combustion noise generated by a subcritical nozzle when forced with entropy waves. This model explicitly takes into account the effect of the local changes in the cross-section area along the configuration of interest. In this article, the authors introduce this model into an optimization procedure in order to minimize or maximize the thermoacoustic noise emitted by arbitrarily shaped nozzles operating under subsonic conditions. Each component of the complete algorithm is described in detail. The evolution of the cross-section changes are introduced using Bezier's splines, which provide the necessary freedom to actually achieve arbitrary shapes. Bezier's polar coordinates constitute the parameters defining the geometry of a given individual nozzle. Starting from a population of nozzles of random shapes, it is shown that a specifically designed genetic optimization algorithm coupled with the analytical model converges at will toward a quieter or noisier population. As already described by Bloy (Bloy, 1979, “The Pressure Waves Produced by the Convection of Temperature Disturbances in High Subsonic Nozzle Flows,” J. Fluid Mech., 94(3), pp. 465–475), the results therefore confirm the significant dependence of the indirect combustion noise with respect to the shape of the nozzle, even when the operating regime is kept constant. It appears that the quietest nozzle profile evolves almost linearly along its converging and diverging sections, leading to a square evolution of the cross-section area. Providing insight into the underlying physical reason leading to the difference in the noise emission between two extreme individuals, the integral value of the source term of the equation describing the behavior of the acoustic pressure of the nozzle is considered. It is shown that its evolution with the frequency can be related to the global acoustic emission. Strong evidence suggest that the noise emission increases as the source term in the converging and diverging parts less compensate each other. The main result of this article is the definition and proposition of an acoustic emission factor, which can be used as a surrogate to the complex determination of the exact acoustic levels in the nozzle for the thermoacoustic shape optimization of nozzle flows. This acoustic emission factor, which is much faster to compute, only involves the knowledge of the evolution of the cross-section area and the inlet thermodynamic and velocity characteristics to be computed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102602-102602-10. doi:10.1115/1.4025036.

A new emergency shutdown procedure for a direct-fired fuel cell turbine hybrid power system was evaluated using a hardware-based simulation of an integrated gasifier/fuel cell/turbine hybrid cycle (IGFC), implemented through the Hybrid Performance (Hyper) project at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy (NETL). The Hyper facility is designed to explore dynamic operation of hybrid systems and quantitatively characterize such transient behavior. It is possible to model, test, and evaluate the effects of different parameters on the design and operation of a gasifier/fuel cell/gas turbine hybrid system and provide a means of quantifying risk mitigation strategies. An open-loop system analysis regarding the dynamic effect of bleed air, cold air bypass, and load bank is presented in order to evaluate the combination of these three main actuators during emergency shutdown. In the previous Hybrid control system architecture, catastrophic compressor failures were observed when the fuel and load bank were cut off during emergency shutdown strategy. Improvements were achieved using a nonlinear fuel valve ramp down when the load bank was not operating. Experiments in load bank operation show compressor surge and stall after emergency shutdown activation. The difficulties in finding an optimal compressor and cathode mass flow for mitigation of surge and stall using these actuators are illustrated.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102603-102603-9. doi:10.1115/1.4024963.

In this paper, we investigate the real gas flows which occur within organic Rankine cycle (ORC) turbines. A new method for the design of nozzles operating with dense gases is discussed, and applied to the case of a high pressure ratio turbine vane. A Navier–Stokes method, which uses equations of states for a variety of working fluids typical of ORC turbines, is then applied to the turbine vanes to determine the vane performance. The results suggest that the choice of working fluid has a significant influence on the turbine efficiency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Vehicular and Small Turbomachines

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102701-102701-8. doi:10.1115/1.4025034.

High pressure ratio turbo-expanders often put a strain on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. First of all, the working fluid is usually characterized by significant departures from the ideal behavior, thus requiring the adoption of a reliable real gas model. Moreover, supersonic flow conditions are typically reached at the nozzle vanes discharge, thus involving the formation of a shock pattern, which is in turn responsible for a strong unsteady interaction with the wheel blades. Under such circumstances, performance predictions based on classical perfect gas, steady-state calculations can be very poor. While reasonably accurate real gas models are nowadays available in most flow solvers, unsteady real gas calculations still struggle to become an affordable tool for investigating turbo-expanders. However, it is emphasized in this work how essential the adoption of a time-accurate analysis can be for accurate performance estimations. The present paper is divided in two parts. In the first part, the computational framework is validated against on-site measured performance from an existing power plant equipped with a variable-geometry nozzled turbo-expander, for different nozzle positions, and in design and off-design conditions. The second part of the paper is devoted to the detailed discussion of the unsteady interaction between the nozzle shock waves and the wheel flow field. Furthermore, an attempt is made to identify the key factors responsible for the unsteady interaction and to outline an effective way to reduce it.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101501-101501-7. doi:10.1115/1.4024961.

The effects of nanosecond repetitively pulsed (NRP) plasma discharges on the dynamics of a swirl-stabilized lean premixed flame are experimentally investigated. Voltage pulses of 8 kV in amplitude and 10 ns in duration are applied at a repetition rate of 30 kHz. The average electric power deposited by the plasma is limited to 40 W, corresponding to less than 1% of the thermal power of 4 kW released by the flame. The investigation is carried out with a dedicated experimental setup that allows for studies of the flame dynamics with applied plasma discharges. A loudspeaker is used to acoustically perturb the flame and the discharges are generated between a central pin electrode and the rim of the injection tube. The velocity and CH* chemiluminescence signals are used to determine the flame transfer function, assuming that plasma discharges do not affect the correlation between the CH* emission and heat release rate fluctuations. Phase-locked images of the CH* emission show a strong influence of the NRP discharges on the flame response to acoustic perturbations, thus opening interesting perspectives for combustion control. An interpretation of the modifications observed in the transfer function of the flame is proposed by taking into account the thermal and chemical effects of the discharges. It is then demonstrated that by applying NRP discharges at unstable conditions, the oscillation amplitudes can be reduced by an order of magnitude, thus effectively stabilizing the system.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101502-101502-7. doi:10.1115/1.4024986.

The injection of small amount of diesel fuel relies on the shortening of energizing signal. In such injection conditions, the needle does not reach the mechanical stroke-end and its displacement is defined as ballistic. Some specific experimental work has been performed on how the dynamics of injector needle is reflected on the fuel flow pattern within the nozzle. Due to the intrinsic difficulties of the field, just single axial hole injectors have been optically investigated in real time, by means of the most advanced X-ray techniques. In the current study, based on 3D-computational fluid dynamics modeling, the investigation has been extended to multihole injector layouts, under typical pilot/split injection conditions, namely, high injection pressure and low needle lift. The role of different factors on the flow development within the nozzle has been shown and discussed; the investigations have taken into account actual injector tip layouts and the response to the needle off-axis operating conditions. Results are presented highlighting the flow features within the nozzle and their reflects on the hole-to-hole differences.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101503-101503-7. doi:10.1115/1.4024987.

A tomographic image reconstruction technique has been developed to measure the 3D distribution of CH* chemiluminescence of unforced and forced turbulent premixed flames. Measurements are obtained in a lean premixed, swirl-stabilized multi-nozzle can combustor. Line-of-sight images are acquired at equally spaced angle increments using a single intensified charge-coupled device camera. 3D images of the flames are reconstructed by applying a filtered back projection algorithm to the acquired line-of-sight images. Methods of viewing 3D images to characterize the structure, dynamics, interaction and spatial differences of multi-nozzle flames are presented. Accuracy of the reconstruction technique is demonstrated by comparing reconstructed line-of-sight images to measured line-of-sight downstream-view images of unforced flames. The effect of the number of acquired projection images on the quality of the reconstruction is assessed. The reconstructed 3D images of the unforced multi-nozzle flames show the structure of individual flames as well as the interaction regions between flames. Forced flame images are obtained by phase-synchronizing the camera to the forcing cycle. The resulting 3D reconstructions of forced flames reveal the spatial and temporal response of the multi-nozzle flame structure to imposed velocity fluctuations, information which is essential to identifying the underlying mechanisms responsible for this behavior.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101601-101601-10. doi:10.1115/1.4024999.

This contribution addresses the possibility of exploiting the temperature dependency of piezoresistive sensors as a temperature measurement per se. This requires the characterization of the sensor, or the probe as a temperature probe, i.e., determination of the recovery factor between the sensor temperature and the flow temperature. This temperature calibration as well as the determination of the thermal response time was performed for two probe geometries: a high temperature flush-mounted and a low temperature subsurface mounted single sensor total pressure probe, both with a probe head diameter of 2.5 mm. Two applications are reported. The first application was performed with the flush-mounted sensor probe in the high-speed 312-stage axial compressor CREATE tested in the 2 MW test rig of LMFA at École Centrale de Lyon, in France. The probes were traversed at each inter-row section up to temperatures of 180°C and an absolute pressure of 3 bar. The second application was performed with the subsurface mounted sensor probe in the high-speed single stage R-4 compressor test rig of the von Karman Institute in Belgium. Both applications have shown results in extremely good agreement with simultaneous total temperature measurements with a Kiel-type thermocouple probe. They also underline the necessity of a very accurate temperature calibration. Finally, considering the fact that a simultaneous temperature measurement can be obtained at the same location as the pressure measurement from the sensor, it is possible to derive entropy generation after a blade row, based on the average pressure and temperature quantities. This unveils another extremely interesting aspect of using the fast response probe technique in turbomachinery applications.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):101602-101602-7. doi:10.1115/1.4025004.

Accurate static and dynamic pressure measurements provide the feedback needed to advance gas turbine efficiency and reliability as well as improve aircraft design and flight control. During turbine testing and aircraft flight testing, flush mounting pressure transducers at the desired pressure measurement location is not always feasible and recess mounting with connective tubing is often used as an alternative. Resonances in the connective tubing can result in aliasing within pressure scanners even within a narrow bandwidth and especially when higher frequency content dc to ∼125 Hz is desired. We present experimental results that investigate tube resonances and attenuation in 1.35 mm inner diameter (I.D.) (used on 0.063 in. tubulations) and 2.69 mm I.D. (used on 0.125 in. tubulations) Teflon and Nylon tubing at various lengths. We utilize a novel dynamic pressure generator, capable of creating large changes in air pressure (<1 psi to 10 psi, <6.8 kPa to 68.9 kPa), to determine the frequency response of such tubing from ∼1 Hz to 2800 Hz. We further compare these experimental results to established analytical models for propagation of pressure disturbances in narrow tubes. While significant theoretical and experimental work relating to the frequency response of connective tubing or transmission lines has been published, there is limited literature presenting experimental frequency response data with air as the media in elastic tubing. In addition, little progress has been made in addressing the issue of tubing-related aliasing within pressure scanners, as the low sampling rate in scanners often makes postprocessing antialiasing filters ineffective.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102501-102501-8. doi:10.1115/1.4025035.

Although gas-lubricated herringbone grooved journal bearings (HGJB) are known for high rotordynamic stability thresholds, small clearance to diameter ratios are required for stable rotor operation. Tight clearances not only increase bearing losses but also yield challenging manufacturing and assembly tolerances, which ultimately translate into cost. Traditionally, the grooves of HGJB are of helical nature with constant cross section and pitch. The current paper aims at increasing the clearance to diameter ratio and the stability threshold of grooved bearings by introducing enhanced groove geometries. The axial evolution of groove width, depth, and local pitch are described by individual third order polynomials with four interpolation points. The expression for the smooth pressure distribution resulting from the narrow groove theory is modified to enable the calculation of bearing properties with modified groove patterns. The reduced order bearing model is coupled to a linear rigid body rotordynamic model for predicting the whirl speed map and the corresponding stability. By introducing a critical mass parameter as a measure for stability, a criterion for the instability onset is proposed. The optimum groove geometry is found by coupling the gas bearing supported rotor model with a multiobjective optimizer. By maximizing both the clearance to diameter ratio and the rotordynamic stability it is shown that with optimal groove geometry, which deviates from helicoids with constant pitch and cross section, the critical mass parameter can be improved by more than one order of magnitude compared to traditional HGJB geometries. The clearance to diameter ratio can be increased by up to 80% while keeping the same stability margin, thus reducing both losses and manufacturing constraints. The optimum groove pattern distributions (width ratio, angle, and depth) are summarized for a variety of L/D ratios and for different compressibility numbers in a first attempt to set up general design guidelines for enhanced gas-lubricated HGJB.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102502-102502-8. doi:10.1115/1.4025002.

The design of bladed disks with contact interfaces typically requires analyses of the resonant forced response and flutter-induced limit cycle oscillations. The steady-state vibration behavior can efficiently be calculated using the multiharmonic balance method. The dimension of the arising algebraic systems of equations is essentially proportional to the number of harmonics and the number of degrees of freedom (DOFs) retained in the model. Extensive parametric studies necessary, e.g., for robust design optimization are often not possible in practice due to the resulting computational effort. In this paper, a two-step nonlinear reduced order modeling approach is proposed. First, the autonomous nonlinear system is analyzed using the generalized Fourier-Galerkin method. In order to efficiently study localized nonlinearities in large-scale systems, an exact condensation approach as well as analytically calculated gradients are employed. Moreover, a continuation method is employed in order to predict nonlinear modal interactions. Modal properties such as eigenfrequency and modal damping are directly calculated with respect to the kinetic energy in the system. In a second step, a reduced order model is built based on the single nonlinear resonant mode theory. It is shown that linear damping and harmonic forcing can be superimposed. Moreover, similarity properties can be exploited to vary normal preload or gap values in contact interfaces. Thus, a large parameter space can be covered without the need for recomputation of nonlinear modal properties. The computational effort for evaluating the reduced order model is almost negligible since it contains a single DOF only, independent of the original system. The methodology is applied to both a simplified and a large-scale model of a bladed disk with shroud contact interfaces. Forced response functions, backbone curves for varying normal preload, and excitation level as well as flutter-induced limit cycle oscillations are analyzed and compared to conventional methods. The limits of the proposed methodology are indicated and discussed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102503-102503-6. doi:10.1115/1.4024960.

During the design of turbomachinery flow path components, the assessment of possible structural resonant conditions is critical. Higher frequency modes of these structures are frequently found to be subject to resonance and, in these cases, design criteria require a forced response analysis of the structure with the assumption that the excitation speed exactly equals the resonant frequency. The design becomes problematic if the response analysis shows a violation of the high cycle fatigue (HCF) criteria. One possible solution is to perform a “finite-life” analysis, where Miner's rule is used to calculate the actual life in seconds in comparison to the required life. In this situation, it is beneficial to incorporate the fact that, for a variety of turbomachinery control reasons, the speed of the rotor does not actually dwell at a single value but instead dithers about a nominal mean speed and during the time that the excitation frequency is not equal to the resonant frequency, the damage accumulated by the structure is significantly diminished. Building on previous investigations into this process, we show that a steady-state assumption of the response is extremely accurate for this typical case, resulting in the ability to quickly account for speed variation in the finite-life analysis of a component which has previously had its peak dynamic stress at resonance calculated. A technique using a Monte Carlo simulation is also presented which can be used when specific speed time histories are not available. The implementation of these techniques can prove critical for successful turbopump design, since the improvement in life when speed variation is considered is shown to be greater than a factor of two.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2013;135(10):102504-102504-8. doi:10.1115/1.4025000.

An automated reverse engineering process is developed that uses a structured light optical measurement system to collect dense point cloud geometry representations. The modeling process is automated through integration of software for point cloud processing, reverse engineering, solid model creation, grid generation, and structural solution. Process uncertainties are quantified on a calibration block and demonstrated on an academic transonic integrally bladed rotor. These uncertainties are propagated through physics-based models to assess impacts on predicted modal and mistuned forced response. Process details are discussed and recommendations made on reducing uncertainty. Reverse engineered parts averaged a deviation of 0.0002 in. (5 μm) which did not significantly impact low and midrange frequency responses. High frequency modes were found to be sensitive to these uncertainties demonstrating the need for future refinement of reverse engineering processes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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