Foil Air Bearings for High-Temperature Turbocharger Applications

Within the realm of turbocharging, there are a number of different design challenges that influence the design process on both large-scale marine applications and smaller-scale commercial automobile applications.  From aerodynamic loads to dynamic control systems to rotor dynamics and bearing challenges, turbochargers represent a special subset of turbomachinery that requires complex and integrated solutions.  Turbocharger rotors specifically, have unique characteristics due to the dynamics of having a heavy turbine and compressor wheel located at the overhang ends of the rotor. The majority of turbocharger rotors are supported within a couple floating-ring oil film bearings.  In general, these bearings provide the damping necessary to support the high gyroscopic moments of the impeller wheels.  However, there are several disadvantages of working with these oil systems that have allowed different technologies to start to surface for these turbomachines.  With the floating-ring oil models, varying ring speed ratios and oil viscosity changes significantly influence the performance of the rotor dynamic model.

Dan blog bearing for turbochargers
Figure 1 – Floating-Ring Bearing Model for a Turbocharger

The application of oil-free bearings have started to emanate due to the overall consistency of their performance and the minimized heat loss associated with air as the damping fluid. Studies on these bearing types for turbomachinery applications are neither trivial nor unique, as they have seen plenty of exposure within the commercial and military aircraft industries within turbo compressors and turboexpanders. However, the success of these specific applications are due to the fact that these turbomachines operate with light loads and relatively low temperatures. The main design challenges with foil air bearings are a result of poor rotor dynamic performance, material capabilities, and inadequate load capacities at high temperature/high load applications.

Foil Air Bearing
Figure 2 – Foil Air Bearing

Foil air bearings operate based on a self-acting hydrodynamic air film layer during normal operation, but they exhibit serious wear on start up and shut down if not properly attended to. Prior to developing a gas film on start up, these bearings must handle the sliding that occurs between the rotor and the inner surface of the bearings. For this reason, solid lubricants like polymer foil coatings were considered for these bearings. Polymer coatings have a serious temperature restriction which do not allow them to be considered for high-temperature applications above 300 °C. Different chrome oxide based coatings have shown greater performance at higher temperatures. Initial testing of these coatings showed significantly poor performance at lower temperatures of 25 °C and difficulties with adhesion through repeated thermal cycles. However, NASA has developed a new high temperature PS400 formulation of this coating that performs well under different load conditions and between the temperature range of 25 °C and 650 °C. Essentially, the viability of these bearings within the automotive market has become a reality with individualized bearing designs. The question now becomes whether the foil gas bearing manufacturers can penetrate the market from a larger-scale and create a standard for these turbocharger setups to run free of oil altogether. To learn more about the simulation of both floating-ring oil film bearings and foil air bearings using the SoftInWay platform, please visit: http://www.softinway.com/software-applications/bearing-design/

References:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000004303.pdf

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090033769.pdf

 

Performance Simulation and Optimization of CCPP with Turbine Inlet Air Cooling

It is well established that the performance of combustion air turbines (gas turbines) is sensitive to ambient air temperature. As the ambient air temperature increases beyond standard design point  (ISASLS), the power output and exhaust gas flow rate reduces while the heat rate and exhaust gas temperature increases. While the trends are similar for heavy duty and aeroderivative gas turbines, due to the inherent nature of design the results are steeper for aeroderivatives.  Various types of turbine inlet cooling technologies such as evaporative cooling, refrigerated inlet cooling and thermal energy storage systems have been practiced with varying degree of success, each having its potential advantages and limitations.  Simplicity and cost advantage gained in evaporative cooling is offset by limitation of cooling along web bulb depression line (and is a function of site relative humidity). Refrigerated inlet cooling (direct and indirect) offer advantage of higher cooling and lesser sensitivity to site conditions, and result in greater power output with an impact on relative cost and complexity. Selection of optimum technology of turbine air inlet cooling is hence a tradeoff between competing factors.

Combined Cycle
              Combined Cycle Power Plant

The complexity of combined cycles, without any turbine inlet air cooling, poses significant challenge in design of steam system and HRSG due to competing factors such as pinch point, heat and mass flows optimization etc. Knowledge of fluid viz properties of standard air (psychrometrics), standard gas for Joule Brayton cycle, steam for bottoming Rankine cycle and refrigerant for cooling system( for refrigerated inlet air cooling) as applied to complete cycle makes the process complete as well as complex. AxCYCLE™ is one such unique tool to simulate such combined cycle processes with multi fluid-multi phase flows including refrigeration. The standard HVAC features can easily be used for inlet air cooling refrigeration and integrated into the CCPP. Once a digital representation of the complex process is replicated and successfully ‘converged’ at design point, the challenge of optimization emerges. To facilitate optimization various tools namely AxCYCLE™ Map, Quest, Plan and Case are embedded integrally. As a first cut, users based on their experience apply AxCYCLE™ Map and vary one or two parameters to see the effect of operational parameters on cycle performance. AxCYCLE™ Quest opens the gates by allowing users to vary unlimited parameters, according to quasi-random Sobol sequences. mutli-Parameter optimization tasks are possible using AxCYCLE™ Plan – it uses design of experiments concepts. Once optimized the AxCYCLE™ Case tools allows off design simulation tasks. Exhibit below represents complexity of a combined cycle plant represented conveniently:

To learn more please check out the following demos:

Cost Estimation & Economic Analysis http://learn.softinway.com/Webinar/Watch/51

Vapor Compression Refrigeration System http://learn.softinway.com/Webinar/Watch/86

Gas for Power

Gas turbines are one of the most widely-used power generating technologies, getting their name by the production of hot gas during fuel combustion, rather than the fuel itself. Today, the industry is clearly driven by the need of fast and demand-oriented power generation, thus additional effort is put in extremely short installation times, low investment costs and an enormously growing volatility in the electrical distribution in order to achieve higher levels of reliability in the power grid [2].

The majority of land based gas turbines can be assigned in two groups [3]: (1) heavy frame engines and (2) aeroderivative engines. The first ones are characterized by lower pressure ratios that do not exceed 20 and tend to be physically large. By pressure ratio, we define the ratio of the compressor discharge pressure and the inlet air pressure. On the other hand, aeroderivative engines are derived from jet engines, as the name implies, and operate at very high compression ratios that usually exceed 30. In comparison to heavy frame engines, aeroderivative engines tend to be very compact and are useful where smaller power outputs are needed. Gas turbine image

Nowadays, The increase of energy demand along with the growth of transportation market led to requirements for machines of highest efficiency (i.e. minimal fuel consumption), ability to operate in some certain range of conditions, and weight restrictions. In addition, to maintain competitiveness, it is essential to decrease the amount of time needed to complete the design cycle [4]. Most of machine’s geometrical properties are selected during preliminary design phase and remain almost unchangeable throughout next design phases, predefining its layout significantly. Therefore, the preliminary design task is the basis and the effort must be put in developing complete engineering tools to cover this task taking into account all possible aspects of a successful gas turbine design. In particular, a key advancement to the future of turbine technology is the turbine cooling of components in gas turbine engines to achieve higher turbine inlet temperatures, as increased inlet temperatures lead to better performance and higher lifespan of the turbine [5].

SoftInWay has extensive experience with gas turbine design and optimization. From our flagship software platform AxSTREAM® to AxCYCLE™ , designed for the thermodynamic simulation and heat balance calculations of heat production and electric energy cycles, to our extensive engineering consultant services, you can rest assured that all your project needs will be met by our engineering experts. The use of gas turbines for generating electricity dates back to 1939, where a simple-cycle gas turbine was designed and constructed by A. B. Brown Boveri in Baden, Switzerland, and installed in the municipal power station in Neuchâtel, Switzerland [6]. Today, SoftInWay Switzerland GmbH is located not far from Baden and allows the support of our European clients by offering consulting services, software and training for all engineers tastes. Visit our website and find out how you can take advantage of SoftInWay turbomachinery expertise.

References

[1]http://www.wartsila.com/energy/learning-center/technical-comparisons/gas-turbine-for-power-generation-introduction

[2]https://library.e.abb.com/public/ccb152e5e798b1cdc1257c5f004d64c1/DEABB%201733%2012%20en_Gas%20Turbine%20Power%20Plants.pdf

[3]https://energy.gov/fe/how-gas-turbine-power-plants-work

[4]http://softinway.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Integrated-Environment-for-Gas-Turbine-Preliminary-Design.pdf

[5]Joel Bretheim and Erik Bardy, “A Review of Power-Generating Turbomachines”, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania 16127

[6]https://www.asme.org/about-asme/who-we-are/engineering-history/landmarks/135-neuchatel-gas-turbine

What’s the Biggest Problem in the HVAC Industry?

HVAC in the Sky with DiamondsWhen asked about problems rising in the HVAC industry, people typically point to the availability of trained workers or labor force. The growth of the HVAC industry brings more open jobs into the market. According to a report by U.S Department of Labor, by 2020, this particular market should bring about 90,000 new jobs in the industry. With that being said, the spike in work doesn’t necessarily align with quantities of qualified workers. Even with strong job security and above average pay, HVAC doesn’t seem to attract too much young potential. In the past year, the HVAC industry has lost thousands of workers, not only from the lagging economy, but also due to the work force available. Currently, the average age of the entire 7.5 million HVAC workforce is around 55 years old, which is much older than the normal workforce.

With the rate of how quickly technology in the HVAC industry is currently growing, the pool of talent in the market can’t quite seem to catch up. Day by day due to increasing demand and competition, leading companies in this industry is required to come up with new design and new technology with better efficiency, easier operation, and better control is needed. Demanding increase in technology does not meet with the current available skill pool. As a result, the hiring process for skilled labor takes considerably longer. Finally, once you take into account calculation of training and orientation, the entire hiring process requires a lot of investment both in time and money.

Technology companies seems to spend most of their available budget on research and development activities. It’s important to pay attention into this particular trend since a high bleed could really impact on the cost of production. During this difficult time of short talents, it makes sense for companies to source out their research and development activities. Our R&D engineering team consists of consulting experts who have completed extensive projects on the subject. We’d be more than happy to assist you with any project needs.

References:

http://contractingbusiness.com/residential-hvac/where-have-all-qualified-hvac-workers-gone
http://contractingbusiness.com/rant/solving-hvac-industrys-biggest-problem
https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-most-important-problems-facing-the-HVAC-industry 
https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-challenges-in-HVAC-field

Analytical Tools for Determination of Damped Unbalanced Rotor Response

Blog 4 image 2
Representative Rotor Response Plot (API Standards) & Analytical Simulation

Lateral rotor-dynamic behavior is the most critical aspect in determining the reliability and operability of rotating equipment in the oil and gas industry – be it a centrifugal pump , compressor, steam or gas turbine, motor or generator. One way to evaluate operating reliability is identifying lateral rotor response to unbalance, i.e. by analytically determining damped unbalanced rotor response. Torsional response is sought only for train units comprising three or more coupled machines (excluding any gears). Experience suggests that the effect of other equipment in the train is normally not included in the lateral damped unbalanced response. Hence brief summary of various characteristics and a technique for analytical predictions of lateral behavior deserves attention by all.

The purpose of damped unbalanced rotor response is to identify critical speeds, associated amplification factors-AF (as per API standards AF greater than or equal to 2.5 is considered critical) and ability of rotor dynamics system to meet the separation requirements (margin of operating speed away from critical speed/s). The first step is ‘undamped’ unbalance response analysis for identifying mode shapes and critical speed-support stiffness map.  ‘Damped’ unbalanced response analysis then follows for each critical speed within the speed range of 0 % to 125 % of trip speed. Unbalance or side load is placed at the locations that have been determined by the undamped analysis to affect a particular mode most adversely. The magnitude of the unbalances is four times the value of U as calculated by U = 6350 W/N. The aim then is to identify the frequency of each critical speed, frequency-phase and response amplitude data, deflected rotor shape due to unbalance and bode plots to compare absolute shaft motion with shaft motion relative to the bearing housing (support stiffness <  3.5 times the oil-film stiffness).

Blog 4 image

To verify the analytical model, subject to various practical requirements, an unbalanced rotor response test could be performed as part of the mechanical running test. The actual response of the rotor on the test stand to the same arrangement of unbalance as used in the analysis is the criterion for determining the validity of the damped unbalanced response analysis. Sample summary results generated using SoftInWay’s integrated tool for rotor dynamics AxSTREAM®, as shown below indicate a very good agreement between test results and analytical predictions, for both amplitude and frequency.

For further understanding the analytical procedure, testing to validate damped unbalanced rotor response and implications please view http://learn.softinway.com/Webinar/Watch/90 or contact us to learn more.

Steam for Power

Turbine technology being central to energy-producing industry, research and development efforts is directed towards cost-savings (increased efficiency, reliability, and component lifespan), sustainability (alternative fuels, lower emissions), and cost-competitiveness (particularly for the emerging technologies) [1]. This blog post is the first in a series of three that will focus on steam, gas and hydraulic turbines for power generation.

Going back to the Archimides era we will find the idea of using the steam as a way to produce work. However, it was not until the industrial revolution when the first reciprocating engines and turbines developed to take advantage of steam power. Since the first impulse turbine development by Carl Gustaf de Laval in 1883 and the first reaction type turbine by Charles Parsons one year later, the development of turbines have sky-rocketed, leading to a power output increase of more 6 orders of magnitude[2].

Steam turbines can be intended for either radial- or axial-flow, but the modern ones are mainly axial-flow units, particularly in large power plant applications, and they are generally large in size. The rotors are usually multistage arrangements designed to handle high pressures in the first stages and lower pressures in the later stages [3]. The two major axial-flow turbine stage configurations are impulse and reaction. The distinction is based upon relative pressure drop across the stage, where one stage consists of one row of stationary blades/nozzles, and one row of rotating blades. In the impulse turbine design (pressure drop occurs across stationary blades), the magnitude of the relative velocity of the steam remains unchanged, but the absolute velocity exiting the rotor is greatly reduced. The reaction design velocity triangle differs from the impulse design in that there is increase in relative velocity which corresponds to a pressure drop across the rotating blades and a loss of enthalpy.

steam turbine

As the steam flows over the rotor blades, depending on pressure or velocity absorbance we get a pressure compounding (each nozzle row coupled with one moving blade row) or a velocity compounding (one nozzle row direct steam to multiple moving blade rows) impulse turbine. There are also intermediary designs that incorporate both pressure and velocity compounding.

High computing capacity and continuous development of CFD have now allowed researchers to gain new insight into steam turbine problems. Reliability is of critical importance in steam power generation [2], and so current research surrounding steam turbines is focused around a few fundamental areas. However, as stated in “Full Steam Ahead” [4] advances in steam turbine R&D tend to favour larger-scale machines, which means that on the lower end (3 MW to 10 MW), a lot of manufacturers are using old technology.

The challenge for OEMs is to explore existing opportunities to use the latest design methods and technology to develop competitive machines. Find more about SoftInWay and AxSTREAM platform, and take advantage of working with a leading R&D player on the turbomachinery field.

References
[1] Joel Bretheim and Erik Bardy, “A Review of Power-Generating Turbomachines”, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania 16127
[2] McCloskey, T.H., 2003, Handbook of Turbomachinery, 2nd ed., Logan Jr., E., Ed., and Roy, R., Ed., Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY, Chap. 8
[3]Logan Jr., E., 1981, Turbomachinery: Basic Theory and Applications, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY
[4] Valentine Moroz, “Full Steam Ahead”, November/December 2016, Turbomachinery International, p.31

 

Simultaneous Design for Turbocharger Compressors and Turbine Wheels

AxSTREAM Blade Profiling
Figure 1- AxSTREAM 3D Blade Profiler for Radial Designs

Increasing regulation for reducing emissions has forced the automotive industry to accept different technologies over the years in order to stay ahead of the market. In an industry that is so accustomed to internal combustion engines, new solutions such as electric motors and turbocharger systems have allowed experts in other industries to cultivate an influence in the automotive market. Specifically in the realm of turbomachinery, increased development has gone into designing turbochargers in order to minimize the effect and size of internal combustion engines. Design challenges are inherent in the fact that an engine is a positive displacement device whereas the turbocharger falls under aerodynamic turbomachinery. The two separate machine types have distinctly different flow characteristics, and the proper sizing of a turbocharger for its parent engine requires proper modeling of the engineering system as a whole.

In general, initial turbocharger sizing becomes a matter of obtaining the necessary boundary conditions required for a preliminary design. A thermodynamic cycle analysis of an ICE-Turbocharger system will allow the designer to obtain an initial idea of the bounds

Axmap for turbocharger
Figure 2 – Simultaneous Turbine (color) and Compressor (dotted) Maps – Power vs. MFR (left) & Pressure Ratio vs. MFR (right)

necessary for the compressor and turbine design. Given the engine information, necessary inlet conditions of the compressor such as temperature and pressure, efficiencies required, and heat transfer of the system, the user can then obtain the boundary conditions for the turbocharger compressor and turbine wheels.

From this point, the process becomes an exercise in turbomachinery design and analysis. With SoftInWay’s turbomachinery design and analysis platform, a boundary condition realization of the system eventually manifests into a full 3D design of the turbine/compressor wheel. Once the engineer designs both the turbine and compressor wheels, they will be left with two discrete physical systems. However, these two designs must eventually coincide into a harmonious system that accurately represents the “turbocharger”. In order to facilitate this representation, the user can overlay the different compressor and turbine maps based on a number of varying parameters. Given the Power and Pressure Ratio curves for a number of varying shaft speeds and temperatures, an off-design performance of the turbocharger system can be analyzed via AxSTREAM’s matching module (Figure 2). Another simultaneous analysis of the turbine and compressor wheels must be made on the component that connects them, the rotor. Rotor design, rotor dynamics, and bearings analysis are crucial to a legitimate turbocharger design and will be a topic of a next week’s blog post. If you would like to learn more about turbocharger design and analysis methods, please follow this link

References:
http://www.automotive-iq.com/engine/articles/high-boost-and-two-stage-turbo-power-systems