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Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Aircraft Engine

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051201-051201-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038124.

Enabling high overall pressure ratios (OPR), wave rotors, and piston concepts (PCs) seem to be solutions surpassing gas turbine efficiency. Therefore, a comparison of a wave rotor and three PCs relative to a reference gas turbine is offered. The PPCs include a Wankel, a two-stroke reciprocating engine, and a free piston. All concepts are investigated with and without intercooling. An additional combustion chamber (CC) downstream the piston engine is investigated, too. The shaft power chosen corresponds to large civil turbofans. Relative to the reference gas turbine, a maximum efficiency increase of 11.2% for the PCs and 9.8% for the intercooled wave rotor is demonstrated. These improvements are contrasted by a 5.8% increase in the intercooled reference gas turbine and a 4.2% increase due to improved gas turbine component efficiencies. Intercooling the higher component efficiency gas turbine leads to a 9.8% efficiency increase. Furthermore, the study demonstrates the high difference between intercooler and piston engine weight and a conflict between PC efficiency and chamber volume, highlighting the need for extreme lightweight design in any piston engine solution. Improving piston engine technology parameters is demonstrated to lead to higher efficiency, but not to a chamber volume reduction. Heat loss in the piston engines is identified as the major efficiency limiter.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051202-051202-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038247.

Very high bypass ratio turbofans with large fan tip diameter are an effective way of improving the propulsive efficiency of civil aero-engines. Such engines, however, require larger and heavier nacelles, which partially offset any gains in specific fuel consumptions. This drawback can be mitigated by adopting thinner walls for the nacelle and by shortening the intake section. This binds the success of very high bypass ratio technologies to the problem of designing an intake with thin lips and short diffuser section, which is well matched to a low speed fan. Consequently, the prediction of the mutual influence between the fan and the intake flow represents a crucial step in the design process. Considerable effort has been devoted in recent years to the study of models for the effects of the fan on the lip stall characteristics and the operability of the whole installation. The study of such models is motivated by the wish to avoid the costs incurred by full, three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) computations. The present contribution documents a fan model for fan–intake computations based on the solution of the double linearization problem for unsteady, transonic flow past a cascade of aerofoils with finite mean load. The computation of the flow in the intake is reduced to a steady problem, whereas the computation of the flow in the fan is reduced to one steady problem and a set of solutions of the linearized model in the frequency domain. The nature of the approximations introduced in the fan representation is such that numerical solutions can be computed inexpensively, while the main feature of the flow in the fan passage, namely the shock system and an approximation of the unsteady flow encountered by the fan are retained. The model is applied to a well-documented test case and compares favorably with much more expensive 3D, time-domain computations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051501-051501-11. doi:10.1115/1.4038127.

Over the last years, aero-engines are progressively evolving toward design concepts that permit improvements in terms of engine safety, fuel economy, and pollutant emissions. With the aim of satisfying the strict NOx reduction targets imposed by ICAO-CAEP, lean burn technology is one of the most promising solutions even if it must face safety concerns and technical issues. Hence, a depth insight on lean burn combustion is required, and computational fluid dynamics can be a useful tool for this purpose. In this work, a comparison in large eddy simulation (LES) framework of two widely employed combustion approaches like the artificially thickened flame (ATF) and the flamelet generated manifold (FGM) is performed using ANSYS fluent v16.2. Two literature test cases with increasing complexity in terms of geometry, flow field, and operating conditions are considered. First, capabilities of FGM are evaluated on a single swirler burner operating at ambient pressure with a standard pressure atomizer for spray injection. Then, a second test case, operated at 4 bar, is simulated. Here, kerosene fuel is burned after an injection through a prefilming airblast atomizer within a corotating double swirler. Obtained comparisons with experimental results show different capabilities of ATF and FGM in modeling the partially premixed behavior of the flame and provide an overview of the main strengths and limitations of the modeling strategies under investigation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051502-051502-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038128.

Lean premixed combustion is prevailing in gas turbines to minimize nitrogen oxide emissions. However, this technology bears the risk of flame flashback and thermoacoustic instabilities. Thermoacoustic instabilities induce velocity oscillations at the burner exit which, in turn, can trigger flame flashback. This article presents an experimental study at ambient conditions on the effect of longitudinal acoustic excitation on flashback in the boundary layer of a channel burner. The acoustic excitation simulates the effect of thermoacoustic instabilities. Flashback limits are determined for different excitation frequencies characterizing intermediate frequency dynamics in typical gas turbine combustors (100–350 Hz). The excitation amplitude is varied from 0% to 36% of the burner bulk flow velocity. For increasing excitation amplitude, the risk of flame flashback increases. This effect is strongest at low frequencies. For increasing excitation frequency, the influence of the velocity oscillations decreases as the flame has less time to follow the changes in bulk flow velocity. Two different flashback regimes can be distinguished based on excitation amplitude. For low excitation amplitudes, flashback conditions are reached if the minimum flow velocity in the excitation cycle falls below the flashback limit of unexcited unconfined flames. For higher excitation amplitudes, where the flame starts to periodically enter the burner duct, flashback is initiated if the maximum flow velocity in the excitation cycle is lower than the flashback limit of confined flames. Consequently, flashback limits of confined flames should also be considered in the design of gas turbine burners as a worst case scenario.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051503-051503-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038153.

Radiative heat transfer is studied numerically for reacting swirling flow in an industrial gas turbine burner operating at a pressure of 15 bar. The reacting field characteristics are computed by Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations using the k-ϵ model with the partially stirred reactor (PaSR) combustion model. The GRI-Mech 2.11 mechanism, which includes nitrogen chemistry, is used to demonstrate the ability of reducing NOx emissions of the combustion system. A photon Monte Carlo (PMC) method coupled with a line-by-line (LBL) spectral model is employed to accurately account for the radiation effects. Optically thin (OT) and PMC–gray models are also employed to show the differences between the simplest radiative calculation models and the most accurate radiative calculation model, i.e., PMC–LBL, for the gas turbine burner. It was found that radiation does not significantly alter the temperature level as well as CO2 and H2O concentrations. However, it has significant impacts on the NOx levels at downstream locations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051504-051504-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038239.

With the transition of the power production markets toward renewable energy sources, an increased demand for flexible, fossil-based power production systems arises. Steep load gradients and a high range of flexibility make gas turbines a core technology in this ongoing change. In order to further increase this flexibility research on power augmentation of premixed gas turbine combustors is conducted at the Lehrstuhl für Thermodynamik, TU München. Water injection in gas turbine combustors allows for the simultaneous control of NOx emissions as well as the increase of the power output of the engine and has therefore been transferred to a premixed combustor at lab scale. So far stable operation of the system has been obtained for water-to-fuel ratios up to 2.25 at constant adiabatic flame temperatures. This paper focuses on the effects of water injection on pollutant formation in premixed gas turbine flames. In order to guarantee for high practical relevance, experimental measurements are conducted at typical preheating temperatures and common gas turbine combustor residence times of about 20 ms. Spatially resolved and global species measurements are performed in an atmospheric single burner test rig for typical adiabatic flame temperatures between 1740 and 2086 K. Global measurements of NOx and CO emissions are shown for a wide range of equivalence ratios and variable water-to-fuel ratios. Cantera calculations are used to identify nonequilibrium processes in the measured data. To get a close insight into the emission formation processes in water-injected flames, local concentration measurements are used to calculate distributions of the reaction progress variable. Finally, to clarify the influence of spray quality on the composition of the exhaust gas, a variation of the water droplet diameters is done. For rising water content at constant adiabatic flame temperature, the NOx emissions can be held constant, whereas CO concentrations increase. On the contrary, both values decrease for measurements at constant equivalence ratio and reduced flame temperatures. Further analysis of the data shows the close dependency of CO concentration on the equivalence ratio; however, due to the water addition, a shift of the CO curves can be detected. In the local measurements, changes in the distribution of the reaction progress variable and an increase of the flame length were detected for water-injected flames along with changes of the maximum as well as the averaged CO values. Finally, a strong influence of water droplet size on NOx and CO formation is shown for constant operating conditions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051505-051505-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038240.

This paper presents a set of methodologies for the extraction of linear growth and damping rates associated with transversal eigenmodes at screech level frequencies in thermoacoustically noncompact gas turbine combustion systems from time domain data. Knowledge of these quantities is of high technical relevance as a required input for the design of damping devices for high frequency (HF) oscillations. In addition, validation of prediction tools and flame models as well as the thermoacoustic characterization of a given unstable/stable operation point in terms of their distance from the Hopf bifurcation point occurs via the system growth/damping rates. The methodologies solely rely on dynamic measurement data (i.e., unsteady heat release and/or pressure recordings) while avoiding the need of any external excitation (e.g., via sirens), and are thus in principle suitable for the employment on operational engine data. Specifically, the following methodologies are presented: (1) The extraction of pure acoustic damping rates (i.e., without any flame contribution) from oscillatory chemiluminescence and pressure recordings; (2) The obtainment of net growth rates of linearly stable operation points from oscillatory pressure signals; and (3) The identification of net growth rates of linearly unstable operation points from noisy pressure envelope data. The fundamental basis of these procedures is the derivation of appropriate stochastic differential equations (SDE), which admit analytical solutions that depend on the global system parameters. These analytical expressions serve as objective functions against which measured data are fitted to yield the desired growth or damping rates. Bayesian methods are employed to optimize precision and confidence of the fitting results. Numerical test cases given by time domain formulations of the acoustic conservation equations including HF flame models as well as acoustic damping terms are set up and solved. The resulting unsteady pressure and heat release data are then subjected to the proposed identification methodologies to present corresponding proof of principles and grant suitability for employment on real systems.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):051506-051506-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038283.

The hydrodynamic instability in an industrial, two-staged, counter-rotative, swirled injector of highly complex geometry is under investigation. Large eddy simulations (LES) show that the complicated and strongly nonparallel flow field in the injector is superimposed by a strong precessing vortex core (PVC). Mean flow fields of LES, validated by experimental particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements, are used as input for both local and global linear stability analysis (LSA). It is shown that the origin of the instability is located at the exit plane of the primary injector. Mode shapes of both global and local LSA are compared to dynamic mode decomposition (DMD) based on LES snapshots, showing good agreement. The estimated frequencies for the instability are in good agreement with both the experiment and the simulation. Furthermore, the adjoint mode shapes retrieved by the global approach are used to find the best location for periodic forcing in order to control the PVC.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051601-051601-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038151.

The distribution of water in the diffuser of a wet gas compressor is not well understood. Measurements of water film thickness across the diffuser surface would improve the understanding of two-phase flow phenomena in wet gas compressors. Electromagnetic probes were designed in order to measure water film thickness in the diffuser of a SwRI-designed wet gas compressor. The probes consisted of two electrode foils plated on a thin insulating substrate, allowing them to be bonded in place without drilling through the diffuser. An AC signal was passed between the electrodes, and the voltage across a resistor in series with the electrodes was recorded. As the water level covering the electrodes increased, the recorded voltage increased. A method of calibrating the probes was developed and used prior to installation in the diffuser. Testing showed the probes to be effective at detecting the presence of water in the diffuser and indicating the general water level. Improvements in probe design, calibration, and installation are needed to provide more precise water film thickness data.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Cycle Innovations

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051701-051701-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038125.

After the renewed interest in supercritical carbon dioxide cycles, a large number of cycle layouts have been proposed in literature. These works, which are essentially theoretical, consider different operating conditions and modeling assumptions, and thus, the results are not comparable. There are also works that aim to provide a fair comparison between different cycles in order to assess which one is most efficient. These analyses are very interesting but, usually, they combine thermodynamic and technical restrictions, which make it difficult to draw solid and general conclusions with regard to which the cycle of choice in the future should be. With this background, the present work provides a systematic thermodynamic analysis of 12 supercritical carbon dioxide cycles under similar working conditions, with and without technical restriction in terms of pressure and/or temperature. This yields very interesting conclusions regarding the most interesting cycles in the literature. Also, useful recommendations are extracted from the parametric analysis with respect to the directions that must be followed when searching for more efficient cycles. The analysis is based on efficiency and specific work diagrams with respect to pressure ratio and turbine inlet temperature in order to enhance its applicability to plant designs driven by fuel economy and/or footprint.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051702-051702-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038152.

This paper presents the development, implementation, and validation of a simplified dynamic modeling approach to describe solid oxide fuel cell gas turbine (SOFC/GT) hybrid systems (HSs) in three real emulator test rigs installed at University of Genoa (Italy), German Aerospace Center (DLR, Germany), and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL, USA), respectively. The proposed modeling approach is based on an experience-based simplification of the physical problem to reduce model computational efforts with minimal expense of accuracy. Traditional high fidelity dynamic modeling requires specialized skills and significant computational resources. This innovative approach, on the other hand, can be easily adapted to different plant configurations, predicting the most relevant dynamic phenomena with a reduced number of states: such a feature will allow, in the near future, the model deployment for monitoring purposes or advanced control scheme applications (e.g., model predictive control). The three target systems are briefly introduced and dynamic situations analyzed for model tuning, first, and validation, then. Relevance is given to peculiar transients where the model shows its reliability and its weakness. Assumptions introduced during model definition for the three different test rigs are discussed and compared. The model captured significant dynamic behavior in all analyzed systems (in particular those regarding the GT) and showed influence of signal noise on some of the SOFC computed outputs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):051703-051703-8. doi:10.1115/1.4038321.

The use of model predictive control (MPC) in advanced power systems can be advantageous in controlling highly coupled variables and optimizing system operations. Solid oxide fuel cell/gas turbine (SOFC/GT) hybrids are an example where advanced control techniques can be effectively applied. For example, to manage load distribution among several identical generation units characterized by different temperature distributions due to different degradation paths of the fuel cell stacks. When implementing an MPC, a critical aspect is the trade-off between model accuracy and simplicity, the latter related to a fast computational time. In this work, a hybrid physical and numerical approach was used to reduce the number of states necessary to describe such complex target system. The reduced number of states in the model and the simple framework allow real-time performance and potential extension to a wide range of power plants for industrial application, at the expense of accuracy losses, discussed in the paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):051704-051704-10. doi:10.1115/1.4039106.

In the present study, multidimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were carried out to study mixture formation in a turbocharged port-injection natural gas engine. In order to achieve robust simulation results, multiple cycle simulation was employed to remove the inaccuracies of initial conditions setting. First, the minimal number of simulation cycles required to obtain convergent cycle-to-cycle results was determined. Based on this, the in-cylinder mixture preparation for three typical operating conditions was studied. The effects of fuel injection timing and intake valve open scheme on the mixture formation were evaluated. The results demonstrated that three simulation cycles are needed to achieve convergence of the results for the present study. The analysis of the mixture preparation revealed that only in the initial phase of the intake stroke, there is an obvious difference between the three operating conditions. At the spark timing, for 5500 rpm, full load condition mixture composition throughout the cylinder is flammable, and for 2000 rpm, 2 bar operating condition part of the mixture is lean and nonflammable. The fuel injection timing has an insignificant impact on the mixture flammability at the spark timing. It was observed that the designed nonsynchronous intake valve open scheme has stronger swirl and x-direction tumble motion than the baseline case, leading to better mixture homogeneity and spatial distribution. With an increase in volumetric efficiency, particularly at 2000 rpm, full load condition, by 4.85% compared to the baseline, which is in line with experimental observation.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Heat Transfer

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051901-051901-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038248.

New experimental data are provided for full-coverage effusion cooling and impingement array cooling, as applied simultaneously onto the respective external and internal surfaces of a single instrumented test plate. For the effusion cooled surface, presented are spatially resolved distributions of surface adiabatic film cooling effectiveness, and surface heat transfer coefficients. For the impingement cooled surface, presented are spatially resolved distributions of surface Nusselt numbers. Impingement jet arrays at different jet Reynolds numbers, from 7930 to 18,000, are employed. Experimental data are given for spanwise and streamwise impingement hole spacing such that coolant jet hole centerlines are located midway between individual effusion hole entrances. For the effusion cooling, streamwise hole spacing and spanwise hole spacing (normalized by effusion hole diameter) are 15 and 4, respectively. Effusion hole angle is 25 deg, and effusion plate thickness is 3.0 effusion hole diameters. In regard to the impingement cooled cold-side surface of the effusion plate, associated surface Nusselt number variations provide evidence that impingement jets are turned and redirected as they cross the impingement passage, just prior to the entrance of coolant into individual effusion holes. In regard to the effusion cooled hot-side surface of the effusion plate, when compared at particular values of injectant and mainstream Reynolds numbers, streamwise location x/de and blowing ratio BR, significantly increased thermal protection is provided when the effusion coolant is provided by an array of impingement cooling jets (compared to a cross flow channel supply arrangement).

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):051902-051902-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038023.

Experiments to investigate the effect of varying jet hole diameter and jet spacing on heat transfer and pressure loss from jet array impingement on a curved target surface are reported. The jet plate configurations studied have varying hole diameters and geometric spacing for spatial tuning of the heat transfer behavior. The configuration also includes a straight section downstream of the curved section, where the effect on heat transfer and pressure loss is also investigated. The jet plate holes are sharp-edged. A steady-state measurement technique utilizing temperature-sensitive paint (TSP) was used on the target surface to obtain local heat transfer coefficients. Pressure taps placed on the sidewall and jet plate of the channel were used to evaluate the flow distribution in the impingement channel. For all configurations, spent air is drawn out in a single direction which is tangential to the target plate curvature. First row jet Reynolds numbers ranging from 50,000 to 160,000 are reported. Further tests were performed to evaluate several modifications to the impingement array. These involve blocking several downstream rows of jets, measuring the subsequent shifts in the pressure and heat transfer data, and then applying different turbulator designs in an attempt to recover the loss in the heat transfer while retaining favorable pressure loss. It was found that by using W-shaped turbulators, the downstream surface average Nusselt number increases up to ∼13% as compared with a smooth case using the same amount of coolant. The results suggest that by properly combining impingement and turbulators (in the post impingement section), higher heat transfer, lower flow rate, and lower pressure drop are simultaneously obtained, thus providing an optimal scenario.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Oil and Gas Applications

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052401-052401-11. doi:10.1115/1.4038155.

The reliability of gas turbine (GT) health state monitoring and forecasting depends on the quality of sensor measurements directly taken from the unit. Outlier detection techniques have acquired a major importance, as they are capable of removing anomalous measurements and improve data quality. To this purpose, statistical parametric methodologies are widely employed thanks to the limited knowledge of the specific unit required to perform the analysis. The backward and forward moving window (BFMW) k–σ methodology proved its effectiveness in a previous study performed by the authors, to also manage dynamic time series, i.e., during a transient. However, the estimators used by the k–σ methodology are usually characterized by low statistical robustness and resistance. This paper aims at evaluating the benefits of implementing robust statistical estimators for the BFMW framework. Three different approaches are considered in this paper. The first methodology, k-MAD, replaces mean and standard deviation (SD) of the k–σ methodology with median and mean absolute deviation (MAD), respectively. The second methodology, σ-MAD, is a novel hybrid scheme combining the k–σ and the k-MAD methodologies for the backward and the forward windows, respectively. Finally, the biweight methodology implements biweight mean and biweight SD as location and dispersion estimators. First, the parameters of these methodologies are tuned and the respective performance is compared by means of simulated data. Different scenarios are considered to evaluate statistical efficiency, robustness, and resistance. Subsequently, the performance of these methodologies is further investigated by injecting outliers in field datasets taken on selected Siemens GTs. Results prove that all the investigated methodologies are suitable for outlier identification. Advantages and drawbacks of each methodology allow the identification of different scenarios in which their application can be most effective.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052501-052501-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038121.

The present work advances experimental results and analytical predictions on the dynamic performance of an integral squeeze film damper (ISFD) for application in a high-speed super-critical CO2 (sCO2) expander. The test campaign focused on conducting controlled orbital motion mechanical impedance testing aimed at extracting stiffness and damping coefficients for varying end seal clearances, excitation frequencies, and vibration amplitudes. In addition to the measurement of stiffness and damping, the testing revealed the onset of cavitation for the ISFD. Results show damping behavior that is constant with vibratory velocity for each end seal clearance case until the onset of cavitation/air ingestion, while the direct stiffness measurement was shown to be linear. Measurable added inertia coefficients were also identified. The predictive model uses an isothermal finite element method to solve for dynamic pressures for an incompressible fluid using a modified Reynolds equation accounting for fluid inertia effects. The predictions revealed good correlation for experimentally measured direct damping, but resulted in grossly overpredicted inertia coefficients when compared to experiments.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052502-052502-8. doi:10.1115/1.4038136.

Varying clearance, rotor-following seals are a key technology for meeting the demands of increased machine flexibility for conventional power units. These seals follow the rotor through hydrodynamic or hydrostatic mechanisms. Forward-facing step (FFS) and Rayleigh step designs are known to produce positive fluid stiffness. However, there is very limited modeling or experimental data available on the hydrostatic fluid forces generated from either design. A quasi-one-dimensional (1D) method has been developed to describe both designs and validated using test data. Tests have shown that the FFS and the Rayleigh step design are both capable of producing positive film stiffness and there is little difference in hydrostatic force generation between the two designs. This means any additional hydrodynamic features in the Rayleigh step design should have a limited effect on hydrostatic fluid stiffness. The analytical model is capable of modeling both the inertial fluid forces and the viscous fluid losses, and the predictions are in good agreement with the test data.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052503-052503-7. doi:10.1115/1.4038183.

This paper deals with the estimation of forcing functions on a mistuned bladed rotor from measurements of harmonic response via Kalman filter (KF) in time domain. An unique feature of this approach is that the number of estimated variables can be far greater than the number of measurements. The robustness of this method to measurement errors is shown. It is also shown that direct prediction of amplitude and phase of sinusoidal force vector from input/output frequency response function has a large amount of errors in the presence of unavoidable measurement noise. Numerical examples contain both frequency mistuning and geometric mistuning.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052504-052504-8. doi:10.1115/1.4038154.

The component mode synthesis (CMS) based on the Craig–Bampton (CB) method has two strong limitations that appear when the number of the interface degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) is large. First, the reduced-order model (ROM) obtained is overweighed by many unnecessary DOF. Second, the reduction step may become extremely time consuming. Several interface reduction (IR) techniques addressed successfully the former problem, while the latter remains open. In this paper, we tackle this latter problem through a simple IR technique based on an a-priory choice of the interface modes. An efficient representation of the interface displacement field is achieved adopting a set of orthogonal basis functions determined by the interface geometry. The proposed method is compared with other existing IR methods on a case study regarding a rotor blade of an axial compressor.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):052505-052505-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038348.

Most aircraft turbojet engines consist of multiple stages coupled by means of bolted flange joints which potentially represent source of nonlinearities due to friction phenomena. Methods aimed at predicting the forced response of multistage bladed disks have to take into account such nonlinear behavior and its effect in damping blades vibration. In this paper, a novel reduced order model (ROM) is proposed for studying nonlinear vibration due to contacts in multistage bladed disks. The methodology exploits the shape of the single-stage normal modes at the interstage boundary being mathematically described by spatial Fourier coefficients. Most of the Fourier coefficients represent the dominant kinematics in terms of the well-known nodal diameters (standard harmonics), while the others, which are detectable at the interstage boundary, correspond to new spatial small wavelength phenomena named as extra harmonics. The number of Fourier coefficients describing the displacement field at the interstage boundary only depends on the specific engine order (EO) excitation acting on the multistage system. This reduced set of coefficients allows the reconstruction of the physical relative displacement field at the interface between stages and, under the hypothesis of the single harmonic balance method (SHBM), the evaluation of the contact forces by employing the classic Jenkins contact element. The methodology is here applied to a simple multistage bladed disk and its performance is tested using as a benchmark the Craig–Bampton ROMs of each single stage.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):052506-052506-14. doi:10.1115/1.4038043.

Direct lubrication tilting pad journal bearings (TPJBs) require less oil flow, reduce power consumption, and offer cooler pad temperatures for operation at high surface speeds. Although apparently free of hydrodynamic instability, the literature shows that direct lubrication TPJBs exhibit unexpected shaft vibrations with a broadband low frequency range, albeit small in amplitude. Published industrial practice demonstrates the inlet lubrication type, a reduced supply flow rate causing film starvation, and the bearing discharge conditions (evacuated or end sealed) affect the onset, gravity, and persistency of the subsynchronous vibration (SSV) hash motions. The paper presents a physical model to predict the performance of TPJBs with flow conditions ranging from over flooded to extreme starvation. Lubricant starvation occurs first on an unloaded pad, thus producing a (beneficial) reduction in drag power. As the supplied flowrate decreases further, fluid starvation moves toward the loaded pads and affects the film temperature and power loss, increases the journal eccentricity, and modifies the dynamic force coefficients of each tilting pad and thus the whole bearing. For a point mass rotor supported on a TPJB, the analysis produces eigenvalues and frequency response functions (FRFs) from three physical models for lateral rotor displacements: one with frequency reduced (4 × 4) bearing stiffness (K) and damping (C) coefficients and another with constant K–C–M (inertia) coefficients over a frequency range. The third model keeps the degrees of freedom (DOF) (tilting) of each pad and incorporates the full matrices of force coefficients including fluid inertia. Predictions of rotordynamic performance follow for two TPJBs: one bearing with load between pads (LBP) configuration, and the other with a load on a pad (LOP) configuration. For both examples, under increasingly poor lubricant flow conditions, the damping ratio for the rotor-bearing low frequency (SSV) modes decreases, thus producing an increase in the amplitude of the FRFs. For the LOP bearing, a large static load produces a significant asymmetry in the force coefficients; the rotor bearing has a small stiffness and damping for shaft displacements in the direction orthogonal to the load. A reduction in lubricant flow only exacerbates the phenomenon; starvation reaches the loaded pad to eventually cause the onset of low frequency (SSV) instability. The bearing analyzed showed similar behavior in a test bench. The predictions thus show a direct correlation between lubricant flow starvation and the onset of SSV.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052601-052601-12. doi:10.1115/1.4038122.

One of the main design decisions in the development of low-speed axial fans is the right choice of the blade loading versus rotational speed, since a target pressure rise could either be achieved with a slow spinning fan and high blade loading or a fast spinning fan with less flow turning in the blade passages. Both the blade loading and the fan speed have an influence on the fan performance and the fan acoustics, and there is a need to find the optimum choice in order to maximize efficiency while minimizing noise emissions. This paper addresses this problem by investigating five different fans with the same pressure rise but different rotational speeds in the design point (DP). In the first part of the numerical study, the fan design is described and steady-state Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations are conducted in order to identify the performance of the fans in the DP and in off-design conditions. The investigations show the existence of an optimum in rotational speed regarding fan efficiency and identify a flow separation on the hub causing a deflection of the outflow in radial direction as the main loss source for slow spinning fans with high blade loadings. Subsequently, large eddy simulations (LES) along with the acoustic analogy of Ffowcs Williams and Hawkings (FW–H) are performed in the DP to identify the main noise sources and to determine the far-field acoustics. The identification of the noise sources within the fans in the near-field is performed with the help of the power spectral density (PSD) of the pressure. In the far-field, the sound power level (SWL) is computed using different parts of the fan surface as FW–H sources. Both methods show the same trends regarding noise emissions and allow for a localization of the noise sources. The flow separation on the hub is one of the main noise sources along with the tip vortex with an increase in its strength toward lower rotational speeds and higher loading. Furthermore, a horseshoe vortex detaching from the rotor leading edge and impinging on the pressure side as well as the turbulent boundary layer on the suction side represent significant noise sources. In the present investigation, the maximum in efficiency coincides with the minimum in noise emissions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052602-052602-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038137.

The wet compressor (WC) has become a reliable way to reduce gas emissions and increase gas turbine efficiency. However, fuel source diversification in the short and medium terms presents a challenge for gas turbine operators to know how the WC will respond to changes in fuel composition. For this study, we assessed the operational data of two thermal power generators, with outputs of 610 MW and 300 MW, in Colombia. The purpose was to determine the maximum amount of water that can be added into a gas turbine with a WC system, as well as how the NOx/CO emissions vary due to changes in fuel composition. The combustion properties of different gaseous hydrocarbon mixtures at wet conditions did not vary significantly from each other—except for the laminar burning velocity. It was found that the fuel/air equivalence ratio in the turbine reduced with lower CH4 content in the fuel. Less water can be added to the turbine with leaner combustion; the water/fuel ratio was decreased over the range of 1.4–0.4 for the studied case. The limit is mainly due to a reduction in flame temperature and major risk of lean blowout (LBO) or dynamic instabilities. A hybrid reaction mechanism was created from GRI-MECH 3.0 and NGIII to model hydrocarbons up to C5 with NOx formation. The model was validated with experimental results published previously in literature. Finally, the effect of atmospheric water in the premixed combustion was analyzed and explained.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(5):052603-052603-7. doi:10.1115/1.4038282.

All turbine blades have mistuned structures caused by manufacturing variations within the manufacturing tolerance, such as the geometrical deviations and variance of material properties. The mistuning effect has a known tendency to increase the dynamic stress, but it is also known to be difficult to predict the maximum vibration response before the operation. This paper studies the blade vibration of grouped blades in a low-pressure steam turbine. The study objectives are to characterize the vibration behavior of the grouped blade structure and to evaluate the maximum response of all blades in a stage experimentally. An experimental investigation is carried out in a vacuum chamber, and blades are excited by an air jet during start-up and shut-down. The circumferential blade amplitude distribution is measured by noncontact sensors (NCSs) and strain gauges (SGs). The circumferential blade amplitude distribution is found to differ depending on vibration modes and nodal diameters (NDs), but the relative tendency is almost the same for all types of operation at each mode and all NDs. Therefore, the median of all experimental results obtained with the NCSs is used in a comparison with calculation results and results of two theoretical curves obtained using equations from the literature. In comparing the measurement results and the calculation results, the circumferential blade amplitude distribution is not the same with all modes and NDs. However, the maximum amplitude magnification is about 1.5–1.8, and all measurement results are lower than the results for the two theoretical equations. This means the maximum response comparison to the tuned blade gives an evaluation on the safe side by the two theoretical equations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Internal Combustion Engines

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):052801-052801-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038024.

Turbochargers reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from heavy-duty internal combustion engines by enabling downsizing and downspeeding through greater power density. This requires greater pressure ratios and thus air systems with multiple stages and interconnecting ducting, all subject to tight packaging constraints. This paper considers the aerodynamic optimization of the exhaust side of a two-stage air system for a Caterpillar 4.4 l heavy-duty diesel engine, focusing on the high pressure turbine (HPT) wheel and interstage duct (ISD). Using current production designs as a baseline, a genetic algorithm (GA)-based aerodynamic optimization process was carried out separately for the wheel and duct components to evaluate seven key operating points. While efficiency was a clear choice of cost function for turbine wheel optimization, different objectives were explored for ISD optimization to assess their impact. Optimized designs are influenced by the engine operating point, so each design was evaluated at every other engine operating point, to determine which should be carried forward. Prototypes of the best compromise high pressure turbine wheel and ISD designs were manufactured and tested against the baseline to validate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions. The best performing high pressure turbine design was predicted to show an efficiency improvement of 2.15% points, for on-design operation. Meanwhile, the optimized ISD contributed a 0.2% and 0.5% point efficiency increase for the HPT and low pressure turbine (LPT), respectively.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Discussion: Discussions

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):055501-055501-1. doi:10.1115/1.4038616.

The paper in discussion [1] presents a very interesting empirical model used for creep life estimation. Based on the obtained results, this model shows potential for wider use by other researchers working in this field. This work is believed to be valuable, in terms of the novelty of the approach proposed and employed. However, there are 35 parameters missing from the constituent models (thermal barrier coating oxidation, stress, thermal, and life estimation models), which drastically limits the reproducibility of the results by interested readers. The full list of the parameters is provided in Table 1. In particular, the calculations performed with the use of this empirical model and their associated parameters cannot be performed separately by other researchers wishing to assess independently the accuracy of the model and to use it in their research activities.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Errata: Errata

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2017;140(5):057001-057001-1. doi:10.1115/1.4038615.

The following erratum has been written to alert readers to unreliable data contained in the referenced paper.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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