2.4 Flow Path Elements Macro Modelling

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Macromodels are dependencies of the “black box” type with a reduced number of internal relations. This is most convenient to create such dependence in the form of power polynomials. Obtaining formal macromodels (FMM) as a power polynomial based on the analysis of the results of numerical experiments conducted with the help of the original mathematical models (OMM).

Therefore, the problem of formal macro modelling includes two subtasks:

1. The FMM structure determining.
2. The numerical values of the FMM parameters (polynomial coefficients) finding.

As is known, the accuracy of the polynomial and the region of its adequacy greatly depend on its structure and order. At the same time, obtaining polynomials of high degrees requires analysis of many variants of the investigated flow path elements, which leads to significant computer resources cost and complicates the process of calculating the coefficients of the polynomial.

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Modern Approach to Liquid Rocket Engine Development for Microsatellite Launchers

Microsatellites have been carried to space as secondary payloads aboard larger launchers for many years. However, this secondary payload method does not offer the specificity required for modern day demands of increasingly sophisticated small satellites which have unique orbital and launch-time requirements. Furthermore, to remain competitive the launch cost must be as low as $7000/kg. The question of paramount importance today is how to design both the liquid rocket engine turbopump and the entire engine to reduce the duration and cost of development.

The system design approach applied to rocket engine design is one of the potential ways for development duration reduction. The development of the design system which reduces the duration of development along with performance optimization is described herein.

The engineering system for preliminary engine design needs to integrate a variety of tools for design/simulation of each specific component or subsystem of the turbopump including thermodynamic simulation of the engine in a single iterative process.

The process flowchart, developed by SoftInWay, Inc., integrates all design and analysis processes and is presented in the picture below.

Execution Process Flow Chart
Execution Process Flow Chart

The preliminary layout of the turbopump was automatically generated in CAD tool (Block 11). The developed sketch was utilized in the algorithm for mass/inertia parameters determination, secondary flow system dimensions generations, and for the visualization of the turbopump configuration. The layout was automatically refined at every iteration. Read More

Hydrodynamic Journal Bearings Optimization Considering Rotor Dynamics Restrictions

This is an excerpt from a technical paper, presented at the ASME Turbo Expo 2018 Conference in Oslo, Norway and written by Leonid Moroz, Leonid Romanenko, Roman Kochurov, and Evgen Kashtanov. Follow the link at the end of the post to read the full study! 


High-performance rotating machines usually operate at a high rotational speed and produce significant static and dynamic loads that act on the bearings. Fluid film journal bearings play a significant role in machine overall reliability and rotor-bearing system vibration and performance characteristics. The increase of bearings complexity along with their applications severity make it challenging for the engineers to develop a reliable design. Bearing modeling should be based on accurate physical effects simulation. To ensure bearing reliable operation, the design should be performed based not only on simulation results for the hydrodynamic bearing itself but also, taking into the account rotor dynamics results for the particular rotor-bearing system, because bearing characteristics significantly influence the rotor vibration response.

AxSTREAM Bearing

Numbers of scientists and engineers have been involved in a journal bearing optimal design generation. A brief review of works dedicated to various aspects of bearing optimization is presented in [1]. Based on the review it can be concluded, that the performance of isolated hydrodynamic bearing can be optimized by proper selection of the length, clearance, and lubricant viscosity. Another conclusion is that the genetic algorithms and particle swarm optimization can be successfully applied to optimize the bearing design. Journal bearings optimizations based on genetic algorithms are also considered in [2-5]. The studies show the effectiveness of the genetic algorithms. At the same time, the disadvantages of the approach are high complexity and a greater number of function evaluations in comparison with numerical methods, which require significantly higher computational efforts and time for the optimization. A numerical evolutionary strategy and an experimental optimization on a lab test rig were applied to get the optimal design of a tilting pad journal bearing for an integrally geared compressor in [6]. The final result of numerical and experimental optimizations was tested in the field and showed that the bearing pad temperature could be significantly decreased. Optimal journal bearing design selection procedure for a large turbocharger is described in [7]. In this study power loss, rotor dynamics instability, manufacturing, and economic restrictions are analyzed. To optimize the oil film thickness by satisfying the condition of maximizing the pressure in a three lobe bearing, the multi-objective genetic algorithm was used in [8]. In the reviewed studies the optimization has been performed for ‘isolated’ bearing and influence on rotor dynamics response was not considered.

For higher reliability and longer life of rotating mechanical equipment, the vibration of the rotor-bearing system and of the entire drivetrain should be as low as possible. A good practice
for safe rotor design typically involves the avoidance of any resonance situation at operating speeds with some margins. One common method of designing low vibration equipment is to have a separation margin between the critical natural frequencies and operating speed, as required by API standard [9]. The bearing design and parameters significantly influence rotor-bearing system critical speeds. Thus, to guarantee low rotor vibrations, the critical speeds separation margins should be ensured at rotor-bearing system design/optimization stage

Conjugated optimization for the entire rotor-bearing system is a challenging task due to various conflicting design requirements, which should be fulfilled. In [10] parameters of
rotor-bearing systems are optimized simultaneously. The design objective was the minimization of power loss in bearings with constraints on system stability, unbalance sensitivities, and
bearing temperatures. Two heuristic optimization algorithms, genetic and particle-swarm optimizations were employed in the automatic design process.

There are several objective functions that are considered by researchers to optimize bearing geometry, such as:

– Optimum load carrying capacity [5];
– Minimum oil film thickness and bearing clearance optimization [1, 6, 8];
– Power losses minimization [6, 7];
– Rotor dynamics restrictions;
– Manufacturing, reliability and economics restrictions [7]

The most common design variables which are considered in reviewed works are clearance, bearing length, diameter, oil viscosity, and oil supply pressure.

Finding the minimum power loss or optimal load carrying capacity together with the entire rotor-bearing system dynamics restrictions, require to employ optimization techniques, because accounting the effects from all considered parameters significantly enlarge the analysis process. Several numerical methods, such as FDM and FEM are usually employed to solve this complex problem and calculation process can sometimes be time-consuming and takes a large amount of computing capacity. To leverage this optimization tasks, efficient algorithms are needed.

In the current study, the optimization approach, which is based on DOE and best sequences method (BSM) [11, 12] and allows to generate journal bearings with improved characteristics was developed and applied to 13.5 MW induction motor application. The approach is based on coupled analysis of bearing and entire rotor-bearing system dynamics to satisfy API standard requirements.

Problem Formulation and Analysis Methods Description

The goal of the work is to increase reliability and efficiency for the 13.5 MW induction motor prototype (Fig. 1) by oil hydrodynamic journal bearings optimization.

Rotor of 13.5 MW Induction Motor
Figure 1: Rotor of 13.5 MW Induction Motor

The motor operating parameters and rotor characteristics are presented below:

– Rated speed rpm: 1750
– Minimum operating speed rpm: 1750
– Maximum operating speed rpm: 1750
– Mass of the rotor kg: 6509
– Length of the rotor mm: 3500

Initially, for the motor application, plain cylindrical journal bearings were chosen to support the rotor. The scheme of the DE (drive end) and NDE (non-drive end) baseline bearings designs
is presented in Fig. 2. For baseline designs, bearing loads were 35 kN for DE and 28 kN for NDE bearing.

Plain Cylindrical Bearing
Figure 2: Plain Cylindrical Bearing

The methodology for the bearing characteristics simulation is based on the mass-conserving mathematical model, proposed by Elrod & Adams [13], which is by now well-established as the
accurate tool for simulation in hydrodynamic lubrication including cavitation.

Read full paper here 

Design of Waste Heat Recovery Systems Based on Supercritical ORC for Powerful Gas and Diesel Engines

This is an excerpt from a technical paper, presented at the ASME ORC 2015 Conference in Brussels, Belgium and  written by Oleksii Rudenko, Leonid Moroz, Maksym Burlaka, and Clement Joly.  Follow the link at the end of the post to read the full study! 

1. Introduction

Internal combustion piston engines are among the largest consumers of liquid and gaseous fossil fuels all over the world. Despite the introduction of new technologies and constant improving of engines performances they still are relatively wasteful. Indeed, the efficiency of modern engines rarely exceeds 40-45% (Seher et al. (2012), Guopeng et al. (2013)) and the remainder of the fuel energy usually dissipates into the environment in the form of waste heat. The heat balance diagram of typical engine is given in Figure 1. As is evident from Figure 1, besides the mechanical work energy the heat balance includes a heat of exhaust gas, a heat of charge air, a Jacket Water (JW) heat, a heat of lubricating oil and a radiation heat. The energy from all the heat sources except the last one (radiation), due to its ultra-low waste heat recovery potential, can be used as heat sources for WHRS (Paanu et al. (2012)) and are considered here.

Heat Balance Diagram
Figure 1: Typical heat balance diagram for CAT engine (Caterpillar (2011))

Waste heat utilization is a very current task because it allows to reduce the harmful influence of ICPE operation on the environment as well as to obtain additional energy and to reduce the load on the engine’s cooling system. Different WHRS can produce heat energy, mechanical energy or electricity and combinations of the converted energy forms exist as well. In general, the type of WHRS to be used is determined by the engine type, fuel cost, available energy customers and other factors. In the presented paper, only WHRS for mechanical power and electricity production were considered because these kinds of energy are preferable for this type of applications and they can be easily converted into other forms of energy.

For vehicle engines the WHRS based on Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) are the most commercially developed (Paanu et al. (2012)). Because of strict restrictions on weight and dimensions, the
mentioned systems typically operate on the base of a simple or recuperated ORC and utilize only high temperature waste heat from the exhaust gases and the exhaust gas recirculation. They usually produce mechanical power or electricity. More complex cycles and a larger number of heat sources are used for waste heat recovery from powerful internal combustion engines where additional weight and dimensions are not crucial factors. Waste heat from stationary, marine and another more powerful ICPE can be recovered using a typical steam bottoming cycle. Steam WHRS allow utilizing almost all a high temperature waste heat and partially utilizing a low temperature heat. The high efficiency steam WHRS are presented in (MAN Diesel & Turbo (2012), Petrov (2006)), they provide up to 14.5% of power boost for the engine.

Addition of the internal heat recuperation to a WHR cycle:

  1. Appropriate working fluid selection;
  2. Increment of initial parameters of bottoming cycle up to supercritical values;
  3. Maximize waste heat utilization due to the usage of low temperature heat sources;
  4. Bottoming cycle complexification or usage of several bottoming cycles with different fluids
    (Maogang (2011)).

This paper focuses on the development of new WHRS as an alternative to high efficiency steam bottoming cycles by accounting for the latest progress in the field of waste heat recovery. The
application range of the proposed system extends to powerful and super powerful ICPEs.

The goal of the presented work is the development of a new, high efficiency WHRS for powerful and super powerful ICPEs based on ORC principles. To solve the assigned task, a thorough study of the currently existing works was performed and the best ideas were combined. The principles of the maximum waste heat utilization, maximum possible initial cycle parameters, recuperation usage and single working fluid were assumed as a basis for the new WHRS design.

Read the full paper here

Turbojets – Basics and Off-design Simulation

The Brayton cycle is the fundamental constant pressure gas heating cycle used by all air-breathing jet engines. The Brayton cycle can be portrayed by a diagram of temperature vs. specific entropy, or T–S diagram, to visualize changes to temperature and specific entropy during a thermodynamic process or cycle. Figure 1 shows this ideal cycle as a black line.  However, in the real world, the compression and expansion processes are never isentropic, and there is always a certain pressure loss in the combustor.  The real Brayton cycle looks more like the blue line in Figure 1.

Figure 1 T-S diagram for ideal and real Brayton cycle
(Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ts_Real_Brayton_Cycle_2.png)

The four stages of this cycle are described as:

1-2: isentropic compression

2-3: constant pressure heating

3-4: isentropic expansion

4-0: constant pressure cooling (absent in open cycle gas turbines)

The most basic form of a jet engine is a turbojet engine. Figures 2a and 2b provide the basic design of a turbojet engine. It consists of a gas turbine that produces hot, high-pressure gas, but has zero net shaft power output. A nozzle converts the thermal energy of the hot, high-pressure gas at the outlet of the turbine into a high-kinetic-energy exhaust stream. The high momentum and high exit pressure of the exhaust stream result in a forward thrust on the engine. Read More

Turbine Blade Cooling – An Integrated Approach

It is a well-known fact in the turbomachinery community that the highest temperature achievable at the inlet of the turbine is a critical performance parameter for the turbine. For any given pressure ratio and adiabatic efficiency, the turbine specific work is proportional to the inlet stagnation temperature. Typically, a 1% increase in the turbine inlet temperature can cause a 2-3% increase in the engine output.

Increase in net power output of a gas turbine over a one percentage point rise in turbine inlet temperature
Figure 1 Increase in net power output of a gas turbine over a one percentage point rise in turbine inlet temperature

The major limitation for the maximum achievable value of the turbine inlet temperature comes from the material used for the turbine. The maximum material temperature has to be kept in check for multiple reasons, from the physical integrity to the structural reliability, and resulting temperature needs to be less than the turbine blade material’s maximum temperature.

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Flexible, Fast and High Fidelity Approach to Gas Turbine Unit Part-Load and Off-Design Performance Predictions

Gas turbine (GT) engines are the primary engines of modern aviation. They are also widely used as power propulsion engines for power stations. The specificity of these engines implies they frequently work at off-design/part load modes that occur with:

  1. Different modes of aircrafts:
    1. Ground idle mode
    2. Take off
    3. Maximum continuous mode
    4. Cruising mode
  2. Different ambient conditions
  3. Grid demands (for power generation engines and gas pumping (compressor) stations)


Due to the off-design/part load operating conditions, the parameters of the engines might change significantly, which influences not only the engine efficiency, but also the reliable work of the turbine (high temperature at turbine inlet) and compressor (surge zone) at joint operational points. This is why accurate predictions of the gas generator parameters are crucial at every off-design mode.

To define the joint operational point, the compressor and turbine maps which are created for specified ambient conditions can be used. For example, pressure equal 101.3kPa, temperature – 288.15K. Maps method is widely used, relatively simple and allows you to find the needed engine parameters in the shortest time. However, when cooling is present, engine operation at low power modes (ground idle) impede the accurate determination of joint operational conditions based on maps. The significant drawback to the maps based approach is that it does not give the full picture of the physical processes in turbomachine flow paths which is critical for off-design calculations.

Compressor and Turbine Maps
Compressor and Turbine Maps [1]
Utilization of the digital twin concept allows significant increase of the off-design performance calculation accuracy. Use of the digital equivalent of object was introduced in 2003 [2]. Despite this, less 1% of machines that are in use today are modeled with digital twin technology [3]. Utilization of digital twin leads to a significant decrease in time and cost for developing and optimization of an object.

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Anti-Icing Systems for Land Based Gas Turbines

It is very important to have Anti-Icing Systems for ground-based gas turbines located in humid climates (where air relative humidity can be more than 80% and dense fog can cause air temperatures to drop below 5 0C). Such climatic conditions lead to ice formation. This ice can plug the inlet filtration system causing a significant drop in pressure in the inlet system, which in turn leads to performance loss. In extreme cases, there is even a possibility that the ice pieces get ingested into the compressor (first blade stage) which may cause foreign object damage. Ice may also cause the disruption of compressor work because of excessive vibration, or surging by decreasing the inlet flow. The major factors that lead to the ice formation in gas turbines are ambient temperature, humidity and droplet size. So, under the climatic conditions which are prone to ice formation, an anti-icing system is employed which heats the inlet air before entering the compressor. Let us discuss some important aspects of Anti-Icing Systems.

The objective of an Anti-Icing System is to prevent or limit the ice formation in the gas turbine inlet path.

Gas turbine image

Gas Turbine Anti-Icing Systems (GT-AIS) can be categorized in two groups.

  1. Inlet heating systems
  2. Component heating systems

Inlet heating systems operate by transferring heat from a heat source (exhaust gases can be used) to the cold ambient air at the entrance of the gas turbine. If the temperature of inlet air raises sufficiently by this heat transfer, icing cannot form in the gas turbine intake.

AxCYCLE™ is a tool, which provides the flexibility and convenience to study various parameters and understand the performance of thermodynamic cycles.

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Steam Turbine Seal Leakage Calculation in Design

Steam turbine seals are parts inserted between moving and stationary components, to reduce and prevent steam leakage and air leaking into the low pressure areas. The leakage can happen through vane, gland, and shaft, etc. To reduce leakage from those parts while guaranteeing smooth operation of a steam turbine, engineers have to design these seals, taking into account not only efficiency, but also mechanical strength, vibration and cost.

As an example, steam turbine flow path seals improve overall efficiency installing various types of shrouds, diaphragms, and end seals which prevent idle leaks of working steam in the cylinders. In steam turbines, labyrinth seals are widely used. Some labyrinth seals are also used with honeycomb inserts. It is believed that the use of such seals makes it possible to achieve a certain gain due to smaller leaks of working fluid and more reliable operation of the system under the conditions in which the rotor’s rotating parts may rub against the stator elements. However, we can only consider it as a successful design if the structures are compliant with the manufacturing capabilities and have good vibration stability. [1] Furthermore, seal leakage can significantly affect efficiencies. Better seals increase efficiencies but add extra cost to both manufacturing and maintenance, so the design needs to be done with the turbine flow path design. Although modeling the seals in 3D CFD is theoretically possible, the calculation resources and time are extremely demanding.

This important task can be completed very easily with AxSTREAM NETTM. AxSTREAM NETTM provides a flexible method to represent fluid path and solid structure as a set of 1D elements, which can be connected to each other to form a thermal-fluid network. For each fluid path section, the program calculates fluid flow parameters for inlet and outlet cross-sections, like velocity, density, temperature, mass flow rate, etc. Therefore, the leakage from the whole system can be modeled in this network, as shown in Figure 1.

Steam Turbine Seal Leakage Calculation with AxSTREAM NET
Figure 1. Steam Turbine Seal Leakage Calculation with AxSTREAM NET™

AxSTREAM NET™ is capable of doing:

  1. Choice of seal design at the stage of the steam/gas turbine preliminary design.
  2. Calculation of balances of pressures and mass flow rate to correctly account for the efficiency of the steam/gas turbine.
  3. Calculation of seals fluid flow parameters on the startup mode to estimate the thermal expansion of rotor and casing element.
  4. Calculation of thermal boundary conditions for thermo stresses estimation.

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Steam Turbine Aerodynamic Improvements for Significant Efficiency Gains

The steam turbine is one of the most important power generating equipment items in use. Around half of the electricity generated worldwide comes from steam turbines. Steam turbines can be fueled by coal, nuclear energy, petroleum or natural gas, alternatively by biomass, solar energy or geothermal energy. Thus a large amount of fuel can be saved and CO2 emissions significantly reduced by optimizing key components of these widely used machines.

An important goal in steam turbine technology is to improve efficiency. The continuous flow of steam conditions is one of the commonly accepted efficiency contributor for steam power plants. The chart below shows expected improvement in thermal efficiency for USC double-reheat fossil-fuel power units compared to common supercritical-pressure ones, according to Hitachi.

Expected Improvement in Thermal efficiency for USC power units
Figure 1: Expected improvement in thermal efficiency for USC power units.

Besides steam condition elevation, other areas help the development and refinement of innovative aerodynamic flow path design approaches and the improvement of design procedures for nozzle and blades design and analysis. Continuous growth of steam conditions since the mid-1990s and some advanced steam path design for large steam turbines have brought about 5% of efficiency gain. This effect is almost the same as the transition from subcritical-pressure steam conditions to the supercritical-pressure ones with elevated steam temperatures illustrated in the figure above. Here are some practical examples of steam turbines high efficiency, achieved during the last decade by advanced aerodynamic design (source: Leizerovich, A. Sh. Steam turbines for modern fossil-fuel power plants, ©2008 by The Fairmont Press).
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