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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Aircraft Engine

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021201-021201-9. doi:10.1115/1.4031253.

Module performance analysis is a well-established framework to assess changes in the health condition of the components of the engine gas-path. The primary material of the technique is the so-called vector of residuals, which are built as the difference between actual measurement taken in the gas-path and the values predicted by means of an engine model. Obviously, the quality of the assessment of the engine condition depends strongly on the accuracy of the engine model. The present paper proposes a new approach for data-driven modeling of a fleet of engines of a given type. Such black-box models can be designed by operators, such as airlines and third-party companies. The fleet-wide modeling process is formulated as a regression problem that provides a dedicated model for each engine in the fleet, while recognizing that all engines are of the same type. The methodology is applied to a virtual fleet of engines generated within the Propulsion Diagnostic Methodology Evaluation Strategy (ProDiMES) environment. The set of models is assessed quantitatively through the coefficient of determination and is further used to perform anomaly detection.

Topics: Sensors , Modeling , Flight , Engines
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021202-021202-8. doi:10.1115/1.4031316.

Although the benefits of intercooling for aero-engine applications have been realized and discussed in many publications, quantitative details are still relatively limited. In order to strengthen the understanding of aero-engine intercooling, detailed performance data on optimized intercooled (IC) turbofan engines are provided. Analysis is conducted using an exergy breakdown, i.e., quantifying the losses into a common currency by applying a combined use of the first and second law of thermodynamics. Optimal IC geared turbofan engines for a long range mission are established with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based two-pass cross flow tubular intercooler correlations. By means of a separate variable nozzle, the amount of intercooler coolant air can be optimized to different flight conditions. Exergy analysis is used to assess how irreversibility is varying over the flight mission, allowing for a more clear explanation and interpretation of the benefits. The optimal IC geared turbofan engine provides a 4.5% fuel burn benefit over a non-IC geared reference engine. The optimum is constrained by the last stage compressor blade height. To further explore the potential of intercooling the constraint limiting the axial compressor last stage blade height is relaxed by introducing an axial radial high pressure compressor (HPC). The axial–radial high pressure ratio (PR) configuration allows for an ultrahigh overall PR (OPR). With an optimal top-of-climb (TOC) OPR of 140, the configuration provides a 5.3% fuel burn benefit over the geared reference engine. The irreversibilities of the intercooler are broken down into its components to analyze the difference between the ultrahigh OPR axial–radial configuration and the purely axial configuration. An intercooler conceptual design method is used to predict pressure loss heat transfer and weight for the different OPRs. Exergy analysis combined with results from the intercooler and engine conceptual design are used to support the conclusion that the optimal PR split exponent stays relatively independent of the overall engine PR.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Coal, Biomass, and Alternative Fuels

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021401-021401-8. doi:10.1115/1.4031304.

Creep behavior in interlaminar shear of an oxide–oxide ceramic composite was evaluated at 1100 °C in laboratory air and in steam environment. The composite (N720/AS) consists of a porous aluminosilicate matrix reinforced with laminated, woven mullite/alumina (Nextel™720) fibers, has no interface between the fiber and matrix, and relies on the porous matrix for flaw tolerance. The interlaminar shear properties were measured. The interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) was determined as 7.6 MPa. The creep behavior was examined for interlaminar shear stresses in the 2–6 MPa range. Primary and secondary creep regimes were observed in all tests conducted in air and in steam. Tertiary creep was noted in tests performed at 6 MPa. Creep run-out defined as 100 hrs at creep stress was not achieved in any of the tests. Larger creep strains and higher creep strain rates were produced in steam. However, the presence of steam had a beneficial effect on creep lifetimes. Composite microstructure, as well as damage and failure mechanisms, was investigated.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021402-021402-8. doi:10.1115/1.4031318.

Deposition of coal fly ash in gas turbines has been studied to support the concept of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). Although particle filters are used in IGCC, small amounts of ash particles less than 5 μm in diameter enter the gas turbine. Previous deposition experiments in the literature have been conducted at temperatures up to about 1288 °C. However, few tests have been conducted that reveal the independent effects of gas and surface temperature, and most have been conducted at gas temperatures lower than 1400 °C. The independent effects of gas and surface temperature on particle deposition in a gas turbine environment were measured using the Turbine Accelerated Deposition Facility (TADF) at Brigham Young University. Gas temperatures were measured with a type K thermocouple and surface temperatures were measured with two-color pyrometry. This facility was modified for testing at temperatures up to 1400 °C. Subbituminous coal fly ash, with a mass mean diameter of 4 μm, was entrained in a hot gas flow at a Mach number of 0.25. A nickel base super alloy metal coupon 2.5 cm in diameter was held in this gas stream to simulate deposition in a gas turbine. The gas temperature (and hence particle temperature) governs the softening and viscosity of the particle, while the surface temperature governs the stickiness of the deposit. Two test series were therefore conducted. The first series used backside cooling to hold the initial temperature of the deposition surface (Ts,i) constant at 1000 °C while varying the gas temperature (Tg) from 1250 °C to 1400 °C. The second series held Tg constant at 1400 °C while varying Ts,i from 1050 °C to 1200 °C by varying the amount of backside cooling. Capture efficiency and surface roughness were calculated. Capture efficiency increased with increasing Tg. Capture efficiency also initially increased with Ts,i until a certain threshold temperature where capture efficiency began to decrease with increasing Ts,i.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021501-021501-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031227.

Sustainable power generation resulting in low pollutant emissions, such as CO2 and NOx, poses a very challenging task in the near future. Premixed combustion of hydrogen-rich fuels in gas turbines is a promising approach to cope with ever more stringent regulations on emission levels. This method, however, involves the risk of flame flashback from the desired flame position into the premixing section, leading to catastrophic failure of the machine components that are not designed for such high temperatures. The objective of the current study was to visualize and describe the transition from stable flame to flashback in a generic H2–air combustion system and develop a physics-based model for the description of the transition. In order to achieve the high temporal and spatial resolution required for capturing the involved effects, high-speed particle image velocimetry (PIV) and high-speed planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) were employed. In order to characterize the interaction of the flame with the flow in detail, both measurement techniques were applied to very small fields-of-view using (UV) long-distance microscopes. The repetition rates were 20 kHz for PLIF and 3 kHz for PIV, respectively. During both the PLIF and the PIV measurements, the flame's OH*-chemiluminescence was captured from a perspective perpendicular to that of the PLIF/PIV camera for further flame characterization. The microscopic measurements revealed that there is a negligible influence of the unconfined flame on the incoming burner flow in stable mode. Upon approaching the flashback conditions, however, the velocity profile of the burner flow is distinctly distorted by the presence of the flame inside the premixing duct. The flow directly upstream of the flame is retarded and deflected around the leading flame tip. Based on the effects observed in the experiments, a new flashback model is proposed, which identifies the heat transfer to the burner rim and the flame speed as the main drivers for the onset of flashback, whereas the flame backpressure is the governing factor for the subsequent upstream flame propagation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021502-021502-12. doi:10.1115/1.4031261.

This paper considers the effect of excessive total pressure losses for heat transfer problems in fluid flows with a high circumferential swirl component. At RWTH Aachen University, a novel gas generator concept is under research. This design avoids some disadvantages of small gas turbines and uses a rotating combustion chamber. During the predesign of the rotating combustion chamber using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools, unexpected high total pressure losses were detected. To analyze this unknown phenomenon, a gas–dynamic model of the rotating combustion chamber has been developed to explain the unexpected high Rayleigh pressure losses. The derivation of the gas–dynamic model, the physical phenomenon related to the high total pressure losses in high-swirl combustion, the influencing factors, as well as thermodynamic interpretation of the Rayleigh pressure losses, are presented in this paper. In addition, the CFD results are validated by the gas–dynamic model derived. The results presented here are of possible interest for a wide range of applications, since these fundamental findings can be transferred to all heat transfer problems in fluid flows with a high circumferential swirl component.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021503-021503-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031262.

To deepen the knowledge of the interaction between modern lean burn combustors and high pressure (HP) turbines, a nonreactive real scale annular trisector combustor simulator (CS) has been assembled at University of Florence (UNIFI), with the goal of investigating and characterizing the combustor aerothermal field as well as the hot streak transport toward the HP vanes. To generate hot streaks and simulate lean burn combustor behaviors, the rig is equipped with axial swirlers fed by a main air flow stream that is heated up to 531 K, while liners with effusion cooling holes are fed by air at ambient temperature. Detailed experimental investigations are then performed with the aim of characterizing the turbulence quantities at the exit of the combustion module, and specifically evaluating an integral scale of turbulence. To do so, an automatic traverse system is mounted at the exit of the CS and equipped to perform hot wire anemometry (HWA) measurements. In this paper, two-point correlations are computed from the time signal of the axial velocity giving access to an evaluation of the turbulence timescales at each measurement point. For assessment of the advanced numerical method that is large Eddy simulation (LES), the same methodology is applied to a LES prediction of the CS. Although comparisons seem relevant and easily accessible, both approaches and contexts have fundamental differences: mostly in terms of duration of the signals acquired experimentally and numerically but also with potentially different acquisition frequencies. In the exercise that aims at comparing high-order statistics and diagnostics, the specificity of comparing experimental and numerical results is comprehensively discussed. Attention is given to the importance of the acquisition frequency, intrinsic bias of having a short duration signal and influence of the investigating windows. For an adequate evaluation of the turbulent time scales, it is found that comparing experiments and numerics for high Reynolds number flows inferring small-scale phenomena requires to obey a set of rules, otherwise important errors can be made. If adequately processed, LES and HWA are found to agree well indicating the potential of LES for such problems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021504-021504-7. doi:10.1115/1.4031183.

Coherent flow structures in shear flows are generated by instabilities intrinsic to the hydrodynamic field. In a combustion environment, these structures may interact with the flame and cause unsteady heat release rate fluctuations. Prediction and modeling of these structures are thereby highly wanted for thermo-acoustic prediction models. In this work, we apply hydrodynamic linear stability analysis to the time-averaged flow field of swirl-stabilized combustors obtained from experiments. Recent fundamental investigations have shown that the linear eigenmodes of the mean flow accurately represent the growth and saturation of the coherent structures. In this work, biglobal and local stability analyses are applied to the reacting flow in an industry-relevant combustion system. Both the local and the biglobal analyses accurately predict the onset and structure of a self-excited global instability that is known in the combustion community as a precessing vortex core (PVC). However, only the global analysis accurately predicts a globally stable flow field for the case without the oscillation, while the local analysis wrongly predicts an unstable global growth rate. The predicted spatial distribution of the amplitude functions using both analyses agrees very well to the experimentally identified global mode. The presented tools are considered as very promising for the understanding of the PVC and physics based flow control.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021505-021505-7. doi:10.1115/1.4031264.

Gas turbines burn a large variety of gaseous fuels under elevated pressure and temperature conditions. During transient operations, variable gas/air mixtures are involved in the gas piping system. In order to predict the risk of auto-ignition events and ensure a safe operation of gas turbines, it is of the essence to know the lowest temperature at which spontaneous ignition of fuels may happen. Experimental auto-ignition data of hydrocarbon–air mixtures at elevated pressures are scarce and often not applicable in specific industrial conditions. Auto-ignition temperature (AIT) data correspond to temperature ranges in which fuels display an incipient reactivity, with timescales amounting in seconds or even in minutes instead of milliseconds in flames. In these conditions, the critical reactions are most often different from the ones governing the reactivity in a flame or in high temperature ignition. Some of the critical paths for AIT are similar to those encountered in slow oxidation. Therefore, the main available kinetic models that have been developed for fast combustion are unfortunately unable to represent properly these low temperature processes. A numerical approach addressing the influence of process conditions on the minimum AIT of different fuel/air mixtures has been developed. Several chemical models available in the literature have been tested, in order to identify the most robust ones. Based on previous works of our group, a model has been developed, which offers a fair reconciliation between experimental and calculated AIT data through a wide range of fuel compositions. This model has been validated against experimental auto-ignition delay times corresponding to high temperature in order to ensure its relevance not only for AIT aspects but also for the reactivity of gaseous fuels over the wide range of gas turbine operation conditions. In addition, the AITs of methane, of pure light alkanes, and of various blends representative of several natural gas and process-derived fuels were extensively covered. In particular, among alternative gas turbine fuels, hydrogen-rich gases are called to play an increasing part in the future so that their ignition characteristics have been addressed with particular care. Natural gas enriched with hydrogen, and different syngas fuels have been studied. AIT values have been evaluated in function of the equivalence ratio and pressure. All the results obtained have been fitted by means of a practical mathematical expression. The overall study leads to a simple correlation of AIT versus equivalence ratio/pressure.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021506-021506-14. doi:10.1115/1.4031273.

The current article introduces a physics-based revolutionary technology that enables energy efficiency and environmental compatibility goals of future generation aircraft and power generation gas turbines (GTs). An ultrahigh efficiency GT technology (UHEGT) is developed, where the combustion process is no longer contained in isolation between the compressor and turbine, rather distributed in three stages and integrated within the first three high pressure (HP) turbine stator rows. The proposed distributed combustion results in high thermal efficiencies, which cannot be achieved by conventional GT engines. Particular fundamental issues of aerothermodynamic design, combustion, and heat transfer are addressed in this study along with comprehensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. The aerothermodynamic study shows that the UHEGT-concept improves the thermal efficiency of GTs 5–7% above the current most advanced high efficiency GT engines, such as Alstom GT24. Multiple configurations are designed and simulated numerically to achieve the optimum configuration for UHEGT. CFD simulations include combustion process in conjunction with a rotating turbine row. Temperature and velocity distributions are investigated as well as power generation, pressure losses, and NOx emissions. Results show that the configuration in which fuel is injected into the domain through cylindrical tubes provides the best combustion process and the most uniform temperature distribution at the rotor inlet.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021507-021507-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031383.

Jet array is an arrangement typically used to cool several gas turbine parts. Some examples of such applications can be found in the impingement cooled region of gas turbine airfoils or in the turbine blade tip clearances control of large aero-engines. In the open literature, several contributions focus on the impingement jets formation and deal with the heat transfer phenomena that take place on the impingement target surface. However, deficiencies of general studies emerge when the internal convective cooling of the impinging system feeding channels is concerned. In this work, an aerothermal analysis of jet arrays for active clearance control (ACC) was performed; the aim was the definition of a correlation for the internal (i.e., within the feeding channel) convective heat transfer coefficient augmentation due to the coolant extraction operated by the bleeding holes. The data were taken from a set of computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations, in which the behavior of the cooling system was investigated over a wide range of fluid-dynamics conditions. More in detail, several different holes arrangements were investigated with the aim of evaluating the influence of the hole spacing on the heat transfer coefficient distribution. Tests were conducted by varying the feeding channel Reynolds number in a wide range of real engine operative conditions. An in depth analysis of the numerical data set has underlined the opportunity of an efficient reduction through the local suction ratio (SR) of hole and feeding pipe, local Reynolds number, and manifold porosity: the dependence of the heat transfer coefficient enhancement factor (EF) from these parameter is roughly exponential.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021601-021601-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031306.

This paper reports new measurements and analysis made in the Research Cell 19 supersonic wind-tunnel facility housed at the Air Force Research Laboratory. The measurements include planar chemiluminescence from multiple angular positions obtained using fiber-based endoscopes (FBEs) and the accompanying velocity fields obtained using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The measurements capture the flame dynamics from different angles (e.g., the top and both sides) simultaneously. The analysis of such data by proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) will also be reported. Nonintrusive and full-field imaging measurements provide a wealth of information for model validation and design optimization of propulsion systems. However, it is challenging to obtain such measurements due to various implementation difficulties such as optical access, thermal management, and equipment cost. This work therefore explores the application of the FBEs for nonintrusive imaging measurements in the supersonic propulsion systems. The FBEs used in this work are demonstrated to overcome many of the practical difficulties and significantly facilitate the measurements. The FBEs are bendable and have relatively small footprints (compared to high-speed cameras), which facilitates line-of-sight optical access. Also, the FBEs can tolerate higher temperatures than high-speed cameras, ameliorating the thermal management issues. Finally, the FBEs, after customization, can enable the capture of multiple images (e.g., images of the flow fields at multi-angles) onto the same camera chip, greatly reducing the equipment cost of the measurements. The multi-angle data sets, enabled by the FBEs as discussed above, were analyzed by POD to extract the dominating flame modes when examined from various angular positions. Similar analysis was performed on the accompanying PIV data to examine the corresponding modes of the flow fields. The POD analysis provides a quantitative measure of the dominating spatial modes of the flame and flow structures, and is an effective mathematical tool to extract key physics from large data sets as the high-speed measurements collected in this study. However, the past POD analysis has been limited to data obtained from one orientation only. The availability of data at multiple angles in this study is expected to provide further insights into the flame and flow structures in high-speed propulsion systems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):021602-021602-8. doi:10.1115/1.4031322.

The present work is focused on the pneumatic hammer instability in an aerostatic bearing with shallow recesses and orifices of four different diameters. Operating conditions were zero rotation speed, zero load, and different supply pressures. The diameters of the tested orifices were large compared to the usual practice and correspond to a combined inherent and orifice restriction. The theoretical analysis was based on the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) evaluation of the ratio between the recess and the feeding pressure and on the “bulk flow” calculation of the rotordynamic coefficients of the aerostatic bearing. Calculations showed an increase of the direct stiffness with decreasing the orifice diameter and increasing the supply pressure and, on the other hand, a decrease toward negative values of the direct damping with decreasing the orifice diameter. These negative values of the direct damping coefficient indicate pneumatic hammer instabilities. In parallel, experiments were performed on a floating bearing test rig. Direct stiffness and damping coefficients were identified from multiple frequency excitations applied by a single shaker. Experiments were performed only for the three largest orifices and confirmed the decrease of the direct damping with the orifice diameter and the supply pressure. The identification of the rotordynamic coefficients was not possible for the smallest available orifice because the aerostatic bearing showed self-sustained vibrations for all feeding pressures. These self-sustained vibrations are considered the signature of the pneumatic hammer instability. The paper demonstrates that aerostatic bearings with shallow recesses and free of pneumatic hammer instabilities can be designed by adopting orifice restrictors of large size diameter.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022101-022101-7. doi:10.1115/1.4031271.

Vibratory bending fatigue behavior of titanium 6Al–4V plate specimens manufactured via direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), powder bed fusion additive manufacturing (AM), is assessed. Motivation for the work is based on unprecedented performance demands for sixth-generation gas turbine engine technology that requires complex, lightweight components. Due to cost, schedule, and feasibility limitations associated with conventional manufacturing, AM aims to address ubiquitous component concepts. Though AM has promise in the engine community, process controls necessary for consistent material properties remain an enigma. The following manuscript compares variability of DMLS fatigue and strength to cold-rolled data. Results show discrepancies between DMLS and cold-rolled for fatigue and microstructure characteristics.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022501-022501-11. doi:10.1115/1.4031236.

Squeeze film dampers (SFDs) are effective to ameliorate shaft vibration amplitudes and to suppress instabilities in rotor–bearing systems. Compact aero jet engines implement ultra-short length SFDs (L/D ≤ 0.2) to satisfy stringent weight and space demands with low parts count. This paper describes a test campaign to identify the dynamic forced response of an open ends SFD (L = 25.4 mm and D = 125.7 mm), single film land, and oil fed through three holes (120 deg apart), operating with similar conditions as in an aircraft engine. Two journals make for two SFD films with clearances cA = 0.129 mm and cB = 0.254 mm (small and large). The total oil-wetted length equals Ltot = 36.8 mm that includes deep end grooves, width and depth = 2.5 × 3.8 mm, for installation of end seals. In the current experiments, the end seals are not in place. A hydraulic static loader pulls the bearing cartridge (BC) to a preset static eccentricity (eS), and two electromagnetic shakers excite the BC with single frequency loads to create circular orbits, centered and off-centered, over a prescribed frequency range ω = 10–100 Hz. The whirl amplitudes range from r = 0.05cA–0.6cA and r = 0.15cB–0.75cB while the static eccentricity increases to eS = 0.5cA and eS = 0.75cB, respectively. Comparisons of force coefficients between the two identical dampers with differing clearances show that the small clearance damper (cA) provides ∼4 times more damping and ∼1.8 times the inertia coefficients than the damper with large clearance (cB). The test results demonstrate damping scales with ∼1/c3 and inertia with ∼1/c, as theory also showed. Analysis of the measured film land pressures evidence that the deep end grooves contribute to the generation of dynamic pressures enhancing the dynamic forced response of the test SFDs. A thin film flow model with an effective groove depth delivers predictions that closely match the test damping and inertia coefficients. Other predictions, based on the short length bearing model, use an effective length Leff ∼ 1.17L to deliver damping coefficients 15% larger than the experimental results; however, inertia coefficients are ½ of the identified magnitudes. The experiments and analysis complement earlier experimental work conducted with centrally grooved SFDs.

Topics: Dampers , Damping
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022502-022502-11. doi:10.1115/1.4031237.

High-performance turbomachinery demands high shaft speeds, increased rotor flexibility, tighter clearances in the flow passages, advanced materials, and increased tolerance to imbalances. Operation at high speeds induces severe dynamic loading with large amplitude shaft motions at the bearing supports. Typical rotordynamic models rely on linearized force coefficients (stiffness K, damping C, and inertia M) to model the reaction forces from fluid film bearings and seal elements. These true linear force coefficients are derived from infinitesimally small amplitude motions about an equilibrium position. Often, however, a rotor–bearing system does not reach an equilibrium position and displaces with motions amounting to a sizable portion of the film clearance; the most notable example being a squeeze film damper (SFD). Clearly, linearized force coefficients cannot be used in situations exceeding its basic formulation. Conversely, the current speed of computing permits to evaluate fluid film element reaction forces in real time for ready numerical integration of the transient response of complex rotor–bearing systems. This approach albeit fast does not help to gauge the importance of individual effects on system response. Presently, an orbit analysis method estimates force coefficients from numerical simulations of specified journal motions and predicted fluid film reaction forces. For identical operating conditions in static eccentricity and whirl amplitude and frequency as those in measurements, the computational physics model calculates instantaneous damper reaction forces during one full period of motion and performs a Fourier analysis to characterize the fundamental components of the dynamic forces. The procedure is repeated over a range of frequencies to accumulate sets of forces and displacements building mechanical transfer functions from which force coefficients are identified. These coefficients thus represent best fits to the motion over a frequency range and dissipate the same mechanical energy as the nonlinear mechanical element. More accurate than the true linearized coefficients, force coefficients from the orbit analysis correlate best with SFD test data, in particular for large amplitude motions, statically off-centered. The comparisons also reveal the fallacy in representing nonlinear systems as simple K–C–M models impervious to the kinematics of motion.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022503-022503-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031241.

Rim seals are fitted in gas turbines at the periphery of the wheel-space formed between rotor disks and their adjacent casings. These seals, also called platform overlap seals, reduce the ingress of hot gases which can limit the life of highly stressed components in the engine. This paper describes the development of a new, patented rim-seal concept showing improved performance relative to a reference engine design, using unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) computations of a turbine stage at engine conditions. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was limited to a small number of purge-flow rates due to computational time and cost, and the computations were validated experimentally at a lower rotational Reynolds number and in conditions under incompressible flow. The new rim seal features a stator-side angel wing and two buffer cavities between outer and inner seals: the angel-wing promotes a counter-rotating vortex to reduce the effect of the ingress on the stator; the two buffer cavities are shown to attenuate the circumferential pressure asymmetries of the fluid ingested from the mainstream annulus. Rotor disk pumping is exploited to reduce the sealing flow rate required to prevent ingress, with the rotor boundary layer also providing protective cooling. Measurements of gas concentration and swirl ratio, determined from static and total pressure, were used to assess the performance of the new seal concept relative to a benchmark generic seal. The radial variation of concentration through the seal was measured in the experiments and these data captured the improvements due to the intermediate buffer cavities predicted by the CFD. This successful design approach is a potent combination of insight provided by computation, and the flexibility and expedience provided by experiment.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022504-022504-6. doi:10.1115/1.4031308.

The prediction of critical speeds of a rotating shaft is a crucial issue in a variety of industrial applications ranging from turbomachinery to disk storage systems. The modeling and analysis of rotordynamic systems is subject to a number of complications, but perhaps the most important characteristic is to pass through a critical speed under spin-up conditions. This is associated with classical resonance phenomena and high amplitudes, and is often a highly undesirable situation. However, given uncertainties in the modeling of such systems, it can be very difficult to predict critical speeds based on purely theoretical considerations. Thus, it is clearly useful to gain knowledge of the critical speeds of rotordynamic systems under in situ conditions. The present study describes a relatively simple method to predict the first critical speed using data from low rotational speeds. The method is shown to work well for two standard rotordynamic models, and with data from experiments conducted during this study.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022601-022601-8. doi:10.1115/1.4031272.

The possibility to realize adaptive structures is of great interest in turbomachinery design, owing to the benefits related to enhanced performance and efficiency. To accomplish this, a challenging approach is the employment of shape memory alloys (SMAs), which can recover seemingly permanent strains by solid phase transformations whereby the so-called shape memory effect (SME) takes place. This paper presents the development of a heavy-duty automotive cooling axial fan with morphing blades activated by SMA strips that works as actuator elements in the polymeric blade structure. Concerning the fan performance, this new concept differs from a conventional viscous fan clutch solution especially during the nonstationary operating conditions. The blade design was performed in order to achieve the thermal activation of the strips by means of air stream flow. Two polymeric matrices were chosen to be tested in conjunction with a commercially available NiTi binary alloy, whose phase transformation temperatures (TTRs) were experimentally evaluated by imposing the actual operating thermal gradient. The SMA strips were then thermomechanically treated to memorize a bent shape and embedded in the polymeric blade. In a specifically designed wind tunnel, the different polymeric matrices equipped with the SMA strips were tested to assess the fluid temperature and surface pattern behavior of the blade. Upon heating, they tend to recover the memorized shape and the blade is forced to bend, leading to a camber variation and a trailing edge displacement. The recovery behavior of each composite structure (polymeric matrix with the SMA strips) was evaluated through digital image analysis techniques. The differences between the blade shape at the initial condition and at the maximum bending deformation were considered. According to these results, the best coupling of SMA strips and polymeric structure is assessed and its timewise behavior is compared to the traditional timewise behavior of a viscous fan clutch.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022602-022602-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031263.

Gas turbines (GT), like other prime movers, experience wear and tear over time, resulting in decreases in available power and efficiency. Further decreases in power and efficiency can result from erosion and fouling caused by the airborne impurities the engine breathes in. To counteract these decreases in power and efficiency, it is a standard procedure to “wash” the engine from time to time. In compressor stations on gas transmission systems, engine washes are performed off-line and are scheduled in such intervals to optimize the maintenance procedure. This optimization requires accurate prediction of the performance degradation of the engine over time. A previous paper demonstrated a methodology for evaluating various components of the GT gas path, in particular, the air compressor side of the engine since it is most prone to fouling and degradation. This methodology combines gas path analysis (GPA) to evaluate the thermodynamic parameters over the engine cycle followed by parameter estimation based on the Bayesian error-in-variable model (EVM) to filter the data of possible noise due to measurement errors. The methodology quantifies the engine-performance degradation over time, and indicates the effectiveness of each engine wash. In the present paper, the methodology was extended to assess both recoverable and unrecoverable degradations of five GT engines employed on TransCanada's pipeline system in Canada. These engines are: three GE LM2500+, one RR RB211-24G, and one GE LM1600 GTs. Hourly data were collected over the past 4 years, and engine health parameters were extracted to delineate the respective engine degradations. The impacts of engine loading, site air quality conditions, and site elevation on engine-air-compressor isentropic efficiency are compared between the five engines.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022603-022603-9. doi:10.1115/1.4031274.

A novel two-spool turbofan engine configuration is described which uses a booster powered by both the low an high pressure spools. Design and off-design performance analysis shows the operating characteristics of the configuration, and a mechanical feasibility study of the gearbox is presented. The trends toward ever higher engine overall pressure ratio and bypass ratio have resulted in a combination of higher pressure ratio and lower blade speed in the booster compressor of conventional two-spool turbofans. This combination gives rise to many stages in the booster and/or lower booster efficiency and also a higher degree of off-design mismatch between the core compressors. The current paper describes an engine architecture which aims to alleviate both these issues by powering the booster compressor from both low and high pressure spools through an epicyclic gear system. We have called this engine architecture the dual drive booster. The concept gives the engine designer greater flexibility to optimize component performance and work split, resulting in the potential for lower cruise specific fuel consumption and higher hot-day takeoff thrust capability than current engine configurations. The gear system is described along with the mathematical derivation of the booster rotational speed in terms of LP- and HP-spool speeds. Both the design point and off-design performance modeling have been conducted and comparison is made between a conventional turbofan and a turbofan fitted with the dual drive booster. The results show a significant enhancement in takeoff thrust due to the better speed match of the booster. The paper also describes the results of a preliminary study into the design and mechanical feasibility of the engine architecture and gear system. The presented concept is an alternative to the conventional turbofan and should be considered during the conceptual design of future aircraft engines.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022604-022604-14. doi:10.1115/1.4031225.

This paper describes stall flutter, which can occur at part speed operating conditions near the stall boundary. Although it is called stall flutter, this phenomenon does not require the stalling of the fan blade in the sense that it can occur when the slope of the pressure rise characteristic is still negative. This type of flutter occurs with low nodal diameter forward traveling waves and it occurs for the first flap (1F) mode of blade vibration. For this paper, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code has been applied to a real fan of contemporary design; the code has been found to be reliable in predicting mean flow and aeroelastic behavior. When the mass flow is reduced, the flow becomes unstable, resulting in flutter or in stall (the stall perhaps leading to surge). When the relative tip speed into the fan rotor is close to sonic, it is found (by measurement and by computation) that the instability for the fan blade considered in this work results in flutter. The CFD has been used like an experimental technique, varying parameters to understand what controls the instability behavior. It is found that the flutter for this fan requires a separated region on the suction surface. It is also found that the acoustic pressure field associated with the blade vibration must be cut-on upstream of the rotor and cut-off downstream of the rotor if flutter instability is to occur. The difference in cut off conditions upstream and downstream is largely produced by the mean swirl velocity introduced by the fan rotor in imparting work and pressure rise to the air. The conditions for instability therefore require a three-dimensional geometric description and blades with finite mean loading. The third parameter that governs the flutter stability of the blade is the ratio of the twisting motion to the plunging motion of the 1F mode shape, which determines the ratio of leading edge (LE) displacement to the trailing edge (TE) displacement. It will be shown that as this ratio increases the onset of flutter moves to a lower mass flow.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022605-022605-10. doi:10.1115/1.4031305.

One of the research areas at the Institute of Jet Propulsion focuses on the design and optimization of s-shaped engine inlet configurations. The distortion being evoked within such inlet ducts should be limited to ensure an optimal performance, stability, and durability of the engine's compression system. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) play a major role in the design process of bent engine inlet ducts. The flow within such ducts can be computed, distortion patterns can be visualized, and related distortion coefficients are easily calculated. The impact of a distortion on flow phenomena within the compressor system can, however, only be computed with major computational efforts and thus the quality of an s-duct design in development is usually assessed by analyzing the evoked distortion with suitable distortion coefficients without a true knowledge of the duct's influence on the downstream propulsion system. The influence of inlet distortion on both the performance and stability of the Larzac 04 jet engine was parameterized during experimental investigations at the engine test bed of the Institute of Jet Propulsion. Both pressure and swirl distortion patterns as they typically occur in s-duct inlet configurations were reproduced with distortion generators. Pressure distortion patterns were generated using seven types of distortion screens. The intensity of the distortion varies with the mesh size of the screen whereas the extension of the distortion is defined by the dimensions of the screen in radial and circumferential direction. A typical counter rotating twin-swirl was generated with a delta-wing installed upstream of the compressor system. First, the development of flow distortion was analyzed for several engine operating points (EOPs). A linear relation between the total pressure loss in the engine inlet and the EOPs was found. Second, the flow within the compressor system with an inlet distortion was analyzed and unsteady flow phenomena were detected for severe inlet distortions. Finally, the effect of both pressure and swirl distortion on the performance and stability of the test vehicle was parameterized. A loss in engine performance with increasing inlet distortion is observable. The limiting inlet distortion with respect to engine stability was found; and moreover, it was shown that pressure distortion has a stronger influence on the stability of the compressor system compared to a counter rotating twin-swirl distortion. The presented parameterization was essential for the s-duct design, which was under development for an experimental setup with the Larzac 04 jet engine.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2015;138(2):022606-022606-6. doi:10.1115/1.4031323.

A damage-based creep constitutive model for a wide stress range is applied to the creep analysis of a 1000 MW ultrasupercritical steam turbine, the inlet steam of which reaches 600 °C and 35 MPa. In this model, the effect of complex multiaxial stress and the nonlinear evolution of damage are considered. To this end, the model was implemented into the commercial software abaqus using a user-defined material subroutine code. The temperature-dependent material constants were identified from the experimental data of advanced heat resistant steels using curve fitting approaches. A comparison of the simulated and the measured results showed that they reached an acceptable agreement. The results of the creep analysis illustrated that the proposed approach explains the basic features of stress redistribution and the damage evolution in the steam turbine rotor over a wide range of stresses and temperatures.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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