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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):081501-081501-11. doi:10.1115/1.4038798.

In-cylinder pressure-based combustion descriptors have been widely used for engine combustion control and spark advance scheduling. Although these combustion descriptors have been extensively studied for gasoline-fueled spark ignition (SI) engines, adequate literature is not available on use of alternative fuels in SI engines. In an attempt to partially address this gap, present work focuses on spark advance modeling of hydrogen-fueled SI engines based on combustion descriptors. In this study, two such combustion descriptors, namely, position of the pressure peak (PPP) and 50% mass fraction burned (MFB) have been used to evaluate the efficiency of the combustion. With a view to achieve this objective, numerical simulation of engine processes was carried out in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software ANSYS fluent and simulation data were subsequently validated with the experimental results. In view of typical combustion characteristics of hydrogen fuel, spark advance plays a very crucial role in the system development. Based on these numerical simulation results, it was observed that the empirical rules used for combustion descriptors (PPP and 50% MFB) for the best spark advance in conventional gasoline fueled engines do not hold good for hydrogen engines. This work suggests revised empirical rules as: PPP is 8–9 deg after piston top dead center (ATDC) and position of 50% MFB is 0–1 deg ATDC for the maximum brake torque (MBT) conditions. This range may vary slightly with engine design but remains almost constant for a particular engine configuration. Furthermore, using these empirical rules, spark advance timings for the engine are presented for its working range.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):081502-081502-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038617.

The stabilization of premixed flames within a swirling flow produced by an axial-plus-tangential swirler is investigated in an atmospheric test rig. In this system, flames are stabilized aerodynamically away from the solid components of the combustor without the help of any solid anchoring device. Experiments are reported for lean CH4/air mixtures, eventually also diluted with N2, with injection Reynolds numbers varying from 8500 to 25,000. Changes of the flame shape are examined with OH* chemiluminescence and OH laser-induced fluorescence measurements as a function of the operating conditions. Particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements are used to reveal the structure of the velocity field in nonreacting and reacting conditions. It is shown that the axial-plus-tangential swirler allows to easily control the flame shape and the position of the flame leading edge with respect to the injector outlet. The ratio of the bulk injection velocity over the laminar burning velocity Ub/SL, the adiabatic flame temperature Tad, and the swirl number S0 are shown to control the flame shape and its position inside the combustion chamber. It is then shown that the axial velocity field produced by the axial-plus-tangential swirler is different from those produced by purely axial or radial devices. It takes here a W-shape profile with three local maxima and two minima. The mean turbulent flame front also takes this W-shape in an axial plane, with two lower positions located slightly off-axis and corresponding to the positions where the axial flow velocity is the lowest. It is finally shown that these positions can be inferred from axial flow velocity profiles under nonreacting conditions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):082101-082101-8. doi:10.1115/1.4038607.

Durability of thermal barrier coating (TBC) systems is important because of recent rising of turbine inlet temperature (TIT) for improved efficiency of industrial gas turbine engines. However, high-temperature environment accelerates the degradation of the TBC as well as causes spalling of the top coat. Spalling of the top coat may be attributed to several factors, but evidently the growth of thermally grown oxide (TGO) should be considered as an important factor. One method for reducing the growth rate of TGO is to provide a dense α-Al2O3 layer at the boundary of the bond coat and top coat. This α-Al2O3 layer will suppress the diffusion of oxygen to the bond coat and consumption of aluminum of the bond coat is suppressed. In this study, we focused on thermal pre-oxidation of the bond coat as a means for forming an α-Al2O3 barrier layer that would be effective at reducing the growth rate of TGO, and we studied the suitable pre-oxidation conditions. In the primary stage, we analyzed the oxidation behavior of the bond coat surface during pre-oxidation heat treatment by means of in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. As a result, we learned that during oxidation in ambient air environment, in the initial stage of oxidation metastable alumina is produced in addition to α-Al2O3, but if the thermal treatment is conducted under some specific low oxygen partial pressure condition, unlike in the ambient air environment, only α-Al2O3 is formed with suppressing formation of metastable alumina. We also conducted transmission electron microscope (TEM) and XRD analysis of oxide scale formed after pre-oxidation heat treatment of the bond coat. As a result, we learned that if pre-oxidation is performed under specific oxygen partial pressure conditions, a monolithic α-Al2O3 layer is formed on the bond coat. We performed a durability evaluation test of TBC with the monolithic α-Al2O3 layer formed by pre-oxidation of the bond coat. An isothermal oxidation test confirmed that the growth of TGO in the TBC that had undergone pre-oxidation was suppressed more thoroughly than that in the TBC that had not undergone pre-oxidation. Cyclic thermal shock test by hydrogen burner rig was also carried out. TBC with the monolithic α-Al2O3 layer has resistance to >2000 cycle thermal shock at a load equivalent to that of actual gas turbine.

Topics: oxidation , Durability
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):082501-082501-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038755.

Significant dynamic forces can be generated by annular seals in rotordynamics and can under certain conditions destabilize the system leading to a machine failure. Mathematical modeling of dynamic seal forces are still challenging, especially for multiphase fluids and for seals with complex geometries. This results in much uncertainty in the estimation of the dynamic seal forces, which often leads to unexpected system behavior. This paper presents the results of a method suitable for on-site identification of uncertain dynamic annular seal forces in rotordynamic systems supported by active magnetic bearings (AMB). An excitation current is applied through the AMBs to obtain perturbation forces and a system response, from which the seal coefficients are extracted by utilizing optimization and a priori information about the mathematical model structure and its known system dynamics. As a study case, the method is applied to a full-scale test facility supported by two radial AMBs interacting with one annular center-mounted test seal. Specifically, the dynamic behavior of a smooth annular seal with high preswirl and large clearance (worn seal) is investigated in this study for different excitation frequencies and differential pressures across the seal. The seal coefficients are extracted and a global model on reduced state-space modal form is obtained using the identification process. The global model can be used to update the model-based controller to improve the performance of the overall system. This could potentially be implemented in all rotordynamic systems supported by AMBs and subjected to seal forces or other fluid film forces.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):082502-082502-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038693.

Gas foil bearings can operate in extreme conditions such as high temperature and high rotating speed, compared to traditional bearings. They also provide better damping and stability characteristics and have larger tolerance to debris and rotor misalignment. Gas foil bearings have been successfully applied to micro- and small-sized turbomachinery, such as microgas turbine and cryogenic turbo expander. In the last decades, a lot of theoretical and experimental work has been conducted to investigate the properties of gas foil bearings. However, very little work has been done to study the influence of the foil bearing pad configuration. This study proposes a robust approach to analyze the effect of the foil geometry on the performance of a six-pad thrust foil bearing. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for a parallel six-pad thrust foil bearing is created. In order to predict the thermal property, the total energy with viscous dissipation is used. Based on this model, the geometry of the thrust foil bearing is parameterized and analyzed using the design of experiments (DOE) methodology. In this paper, the selected geometry parameters of the foil structure include minimum film thickness, inlet film thickness, the ramp extent on the inner circle, the ramp extent on the outer circle, the arc extent of the pad, and the orientation of the leading edge. The objectives in the sensitivity study are load capacity and maximal temperature. An optimal foil geometry is derived based on the results of the DOE process by using a goal-driven optimization technique to maximize the load capacity and minimize the maximal temperature. The results show that the geometry of the foil structure is a key factor for foil bearing performance. The numerical approach proposed in this study is expected to be useful from the thrust foil bearing design perspective.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Turbomachinery

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):082601-082601-15. doi:10.1115/1.4038608.

Solid particle ingestion is one of the principal degradation mechanisms in the compressor and turbine sections of gas turbines. In particular, in industrial applications, the microparticles not captured by the air filtration system can cause deposits on blading and, consequently, result in a decrease in compressor performance. In the literature, there are some studies related to the fouling phenomena in transonic compressors, but in industrial applications (heavy-duty compressors, pump stations, etc.), the subsonic compressors are widespread. It is highly important for the manufacturer to gather information about the fouling phenomenon related to this type of compressor. This paper presents three-dimensional (3D) numerical simulations of the microparticle ingestion (0.15–1.50 μm) in a multistage (i.e., eight stage) subsonic axial compressor, carried out by means of a commercial computational fluid dynamic (CFD) code. Particles of this size can follow the main air flow with relatively little slip, while being impacted by flow turbulence. It is of great interest to the industry to determine which zones of the compressor blades are impacted by these small particles. Particle trajectory simulations use a stochastic Lagrangian tracking method that solves the equations of motion separately from the continuous phase. The adopted computational strategy allows the evaluation of particle deposition in a multistage axial compressor thanks to the use of a mixing plane approach to model the rotor/stator interaction. The compressor numerical model and the discrete phase model are set up and validated against the experimental and numerical data available in the literature. The number of particles and sizes is specified in order to perform a quantitative analysis of the particle impacts on the blade surface. The blade zones affected by particle impacts and the kinematic characteristics (velocity and angle) of the impact of micrometric and submicrometric particles with the blade surface are shown. Both blade zones affected by particle impact and deposition are analyzed. The particle deposition is established by using the quantity called sticking probability (SP), adopted from the literature. The SP links the kinematic characteristics of particle impact on the blade with the fouling phenomenon. The results show that microparticles tend to follow the flow by impacting on the compressor blades at full span. The suction side (SS) of the blade is only affected by the impacts of the smallest particles. Particular fluid dynamic phenomena, such as corner separations and clearance vortices, strongly influence the impact location of the particles. The impact and deposition trends decrease according to the stages. The front stages appear more affected by particle impact and deposition than the rear ones.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. 2018;140(8):082602-082602-12. doi:10.1115/1.4038793.

Serpentine nozzles have been used in stealth fighters to increase their survivability. For real turbofan aero-engines, the existence of the double ducts (bypass and core flow), the tail cone, the struts, the lobed mixers, and the swirl flows from the engine turbine, could lead to complex flow features of serpentine nozzle. The aim of this paper is to ascertain the effect of different inlet configurations on the flow characteristics of a double serpentine convergent nozzle. The detailed flow features of the double serpentine convergent nozzle including/excluding the tail cone and the struts are investigated. The effects of inlet swirl angles and strut setting angles on the flow field and performance of the serpentine nozzle are also computed. The results show that the vortices, which inherently exist at the corners, are not affected by the existence of the bypass, the tail cone, and the struts. The existence of the tail cone and the struts leads to differences in the high-vorticity regions of the core flow. The static temperature contours are dependent on the distributions of the x-streamwise vorticity around the core flow. The high static temperature region is decreased with the increase of the inlet swirl angle and the setting angle of the struts. The performance loss of the serpentine nozzle is mostly caused by its inherent losses such as the friction loss and the shock loss. The performance of the serpentine nozzle is decreased as the inlet swirl angle and the setting angle of the struts increase.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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