Aircraft Fuel Pump Design and Optimization

Introduction to Aircraft Fuel Pumps

Aircraft fuel pumps are one of the most important elements of a fuel system. The operating characteristics and reliability of it are critical for the performance and safety of the aircraft.

Usually, the inlet pressure of the aircraft fuel pump is very low, for example, the aircraft fuel pump of a commercial aircraft needs to operate at altitudes up to 45,000 feet, where the standard atmospheric pressure is about 2.14 psi (about 0.146 atm). What’s more, because fuel is the only consumable fluid carried by the aircraft, it needs to provide all of the cooling necessary for the proper function of the airframe and engine systems. As a result, the temperature of the fuel in the pump increases significantly. The vapor pressure of common fuel used in aircraft gas turbine engines, like Jet A, Jet B, JP-4 etc., gets higher as the temperature increases. Cavitation may occur when the local static pressure in the fluid drops below the vapor pressure of the fuel.

It is very important to avoid the cavitation problem when designing the aircraft fuel pump, because it will cause serious wear, tear, damage of the impeller and performance penalty, which reduces the pumps’ lifetime dramatically. In order to prevent cavitation and have a better suction performance, aircraft fuel pumps use inducers either alone or in conjunction with radial or mixed-flow impeller depending upon the flow and pressure requirements. Figure 1 shows an assortment of fuel pump impellers including radial, mixed flow and inducer types. [1]

5.1. The Cascade’s Basic Geometry Parameters Optimization

Chapter 5 Introduction: Optimal Cascades Profiling

There are two different approaches to determining the optimal parameters of planar cascades of profiles for the designed axial turbine flow path.

The first one which is suitable for the early stages of design, does not takes into account the real profile shape, i.e. based on the involvement of empirical data on loss ratio, geometrical and strength characteristics depending on the most important dimensionless criteria (the relative height and pitch, geometric entry and exit angles, Mach and Reynolds numbers, relative roughness, etc.). The advantages of this approach are shown in the calculation of the optimal parameters of stages or groups of stages, as allow fairly quickly and accurately assess the mutual communication by various factors – aerodynamics, strength, technological and other, affecting the appearance of created design – and make an informed decision.

The second approach involves a rigorous solution of the profile contour optimal shape determining problem on the basis of a viscous compressible fluid flow modeling with varying impermeability boundary conditions of the profile walls. In practice, the task is divided into a number of sub-problems (building the profile of a certain class curve segments, the calculation of cascade fluid flow, the calculation of the boundary layer and the energy loss) solved repeatedly in accordance with the used optimization algorithm, designed to search for the profile configuration that provides an extremum of selected quality criteria (e.g., loss factor) with constraints related to strength, and other technological factors. Read More

To Retrofit or Not to Retrofit – 7 Questions to Help you Decide

One of the challenges of maintaining infrastructure is deciding how best to keep the operational costs in check while delivering the highest amount of service. This is especially true for aging equipment. One option is to replace the equipment with a newer version entirely, continue to maintain the existing machine, or a third option, retrofit the current machine with updated features.

Retrofitting is a term used in the manufacturing industry to describe how new or updated parts are fitted to old or outdated assemblies to improve function, efficiency or additional features unavailable in the earlier versions.

Retrofitting, like any investment of capital requires careful thought.  SoftInWay’s Manage ring Director, Abdul Nassar has put together a simple list of questions to ask yourself before committing to a retrofit project.  Answering these seven questions before you start can save you considerable time and effort. Read More

4.4 The Effect of Tangential Lean on the Characteristics of Axial Turbine Stage

One means of the flow control in the axial turbine stage is the use of blades with non-radial setting. In this case, there is a non-zero the blade surface lean angle.

Vortex equation for the case of flow in a rotating crown can be written as:

Turning to the new independent variable ψ – the stream function, we write (4.16) in final form:

Equation (4.17) for given geometrical parameters of the surface S’2 forms a closed system of ordinary differential equations in cross-section z = const together with the continuity equation:

Consider a three sections stage calculation which located on the entrance and exit edges of the guide vane and on the trailing edge of the impeller. Derivative:

is defined in terms of the flow of the working fluid in the free space (right side of the design section):

In the absence of lean (tgδ = 0 ) the equation (4.17) coincides with the previously obtained. Upheld algorithm for the stage calculation by sections and supplements it by specifying the lean angles of the guide and rotor blades output edges. Agreed δ(r) = const.

4.3 The Axial Turbine Stage Optimization Along the Radius in View of Leakages

The above numerical study results, confirmed experimentally, show, that leakages significantly affect the axial turbine stage crowns optimal twist laws. With a decrease in the length of the rotor blade (increase of Dm/ι ratio) this effect is amplified.

In this regard, the problem arises of determining the guide vanes and rotor optimal twist laws for a given stage geometry, inlet parameters, the rotor angular velocity, flow rate and heat drop. We restrict ourselves to the task of practically important case of the blades angles specification in the form (4.4). At the same time, while setting the flow and heat drop together, thermal calculation is performed by adjusting one of the angles α1m or β2m Described below optimization technique based on repeated conduct this kind of thermal calculations for the purpose of calculating the internal stage efficiency depending on one of α1m, β2m angles, and the exponents m1, m2 in the
expression (4.4).

Assume that the control variables are β2m, m1 and m2, whereby the back pressure at a predetermined flow rate must be specified by changing the angle α1 at the mean radius. The problem of the thermal stage calculation is written as

and its numerical solution is based on finding the roots of transcendental equations

After the solution of (4.7), which is conducted with the specification form of the stream lines, leakage values, velocity and flow rate coefficients, internal stage efficiency calculated as a function of three variables β2m, m1 and m2.

A Basic Guide to Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering, or back engineering, is a term used for the process of examining an object to see how it works in order to duplicate or enhance the object when you don’t have the original drawings/models or manufacturing information about an object.

There are two major reasons reverse engineering is used:

1.  create replacement parts to maintain the function of older machines;
2.  improve the function of existing machines while meeting all existing constraints.

Reverse engineering is extremely important in turbomachinery for replacement parts in turbines or compressors which have been operating for many years. Documentation, reports and drawings for a significant amount of these machines is not available due to a variety of reasons, therefore keeping these important machines running is a challenge. One of the options to deal with this issue is to buy the modern analogue of the machine, which is not always feasible due to economic constraints or that there is no replacement available.  Reverse engineering of the worn out parts might be the best option in the majority of cases.

In any case, the process to recovery original geometry of the object is the first and major step for all reverse engineering projects, whether you want just replacing/replicate parts or proceed with an upgrade to the machine.

Basic Steps to Any Reverse Engineering Project

Any reverse engineering process consist of the following phases:

1. Data collection: The object needs to be taken apart and studied.  Starting in ancient times, items were disassembles and careful hand measurements were taken to replicate items.  Today, we employ advanced laser scanning tool and 3D modeling techniques to record the required information in addition to any existing documentation, drawings or reports which exists.
2. Data processing: Once you have the data, it needs to be converted to useful information.  Computers are essential for this stage as it can involve the processing of billions of coordinates of data converting this information into 2D drawings or 3D models by utilizing CAD systems.
3. Data modeling: This step was not available in beginning of reverse engineering. People just tried to replicate and manufacture a similar object based on the available data. Nowadays, engineers can utilize digital modelling, which represents all details of the geometrical and operational conditions of the object through a range of operation regimes. Typically, performance analysis and structural evaluation are done at this stage, by utilizing thermo/aerodynamic analytical tool, including 3D CFD and FEA approaches.
4. Improvement/redesign of the object: If required, this is the step where innovations can be created to improve the effectiveness of the object based on the collected data about the object’s geometry and operation.
5. Manufacturing: After the part is been modeled and meets the design requirements, the object can be manufactured to replace a worn out part, or to provide increased functionality.
Reverse Engineering in Today’s World

It very common to find the situations where reverse engineering is necessary for parts replacement, particularly with turbomachinery – steam or gas turbines, compressors and pumps. Many of these machines have been in operation for many years and experienced damaging effects of use over that time – like water droplets and solid particles erosion, corrosion, foreign objects, and unexpected operating conditions. Besides these expected needed repairs, some other reasons for reverse engineering might arise from a components part failure, as well as part alterations needed due to previous overhauls and re-rates.

All the conditions mentioned above require not only recovering the original geometry but also an understanding of the unit’s history, material properties and current operating conditions.

This article focuses on reverse engineering objects which have experienced significant change in their geometry due to the challenges of long term operation and their shape could not be directly recovered by traditional methods – like direct measurement or laser scanning.  Pictures below are examples of such objects – steam turbines blading with significant damage of the airfoils with different causes such as mechanical, water/solid particle erosion, and deposit.

In the situations shown above, recovering the original geometry may be impossible if an engineer only has the undamaged portion of original part to work with. Which means that relying on undamaged portion of an original part it may be impossible to recover the needed portion due to significant level of damage.

Looking at the eroded turbine blading in Figure 1, recovering these airfoils with sufficient accuracy based on only a scan of the original part, would be very difficult, if not impossible, considering that 1/3 to ½ of the needed profile is wiped out by erosion.

In order to recover the full airfoil shape for turbines / compressors / or pumps blading, the information about flow conditions – angles, velocities, pressure, temperature – is required to recreate the airfoils profiles and a complete 3D blade.

In many cases with significant blading damage, the information obtained from aero/thermodynamic analysis is the only source of the information available for a designer and the only possible way to recover turbomachinery blading. In fact, in such a situation, the new variant of the airfoils is developed based on aero/thermodynamic information and by considering the remaining portion of the part, which would be the most accurate representation of the original variant. A structural evaluation should also be performed for any recovered part to ensure blading structural reliability in addition to the aero/thermodynamic study.

All of these engineering steps require employment of dedicated engineering design and analysis tools, which can perform:

• – Accurate modelling of the turbo machinery flow path,
• – 1D/2D aero/thermodynamic analysis and in some cases 3D CFD,
• – Profiling and 3D staking of the blading,
• – Structural evaluation, including 3D FEA tools.

SoftInWay’s team offers a comprehensive set of turbomachinery design and analysis tools within the integrated AxSTREAM® platform, which covers many steps, required for reverse engineering activities.

In Figure 6 below, a process diagram shows how AxSTREAM® products are used for reverse engineering.

After data collection, most of the geometry recovering steps are processed by AxSTREAM® modules:

• AxSLICE™ to process original geometry data, available from the scanned cloud of points.
• AxSTREAM® solver to perform 1D/2D aero/thermodynamic
• AxSTREAM® profiler to recover profile shape and 3D airfoil stacking.
• AxSTRESS™ for structural evaluation and 3D design.
• AxCFD™ for detailed aerodynamic analysis and performance evaluation.

Geometry recovered in this way is now ready to be used to develop detailed 3D CAD models and 2D drawings for further technological and/or manufacturing processing.

As an example of such capabilities, Figure 7 demonstrates the reverse engineering process for the 1000 mm last stage of 200 MW steam turbine with significantly damaged blades due to water erosion.

It is possible to recognize and extract the profile angles with a specialized tool – AxSLICE™, obtain slices on the desired number of sections and insert the extracted geometric data to an AxSTREAM® project.

The AxSTREAM® platform can provide seamless reverse engineering process for all components of complex turbomachinery.

Meet an Expert!

Dr. Boris Frolov has over 35 years of experience in steam/gas turbines design, analysis and testing. Earning his PhD in turbine stages optimization with controlled reaction, he is an expert in steam turbines aerodynamics and long buckets aeromechanics. Dr. Frolov has over 50 publications and 7 registered patents and he shares this vast knowledge as a lecturer in steam turbines, gas dynamics and thermodynamics for students studying power engineering sciences.

4.2 The Impact of Leaks on the Axial Turbine Stages Crowns Twist Laws

Significant impact on the stage efficiency have leakage of the working fluid through the seal gaps and discharge openings. The dependence of the leakage (and associated losses) of the stage bounding surfaces parameters can dramatically affect the distribution of the optimal parameters along the radii and, hence, the spatial structure of the flow therein. The latter, in turn, is determined by the shape and twist law of guide vane and impeller.

Development of algorithms for the axial turbine stages crowns twist laws optimization demanded the establishment of appropriate in the terms of computer time methods for calculating the quantities of leaks and losses on them, allowing the joint implementation of the procedure for calculating the spatial parameters of the flow in the stage.

The leakage calculation is necessary to conduct together with a spatial calculation step, as the results of which the parameters in the calculation sections are determined, including the meridian boundaries of the flow path. The flow capacity depends on the clearance (or leakages) values, in connection with which main stream flow calculation is made with the mass flow amplification at fixed the initial parameters and counter-pressure on the mean radius, or clarifying counter-pressure at fixed initial parameters and mass flow. The need for multiple stage spatial parameters calculation (in the optimization problem the number of direct spatial calculations increases many times) demanded a less time-consuming, but well reflecting the true picture of the flow,
methods of spatial stage calculation in the gaps described above (Fig. 2.3).

When calculating stage in view of leakage the continuity equation is convenient to take as [8]:

where μ – the mass transfer coefficient, which allows to take into account changes in the amount of fluid passing through the crowns, and at the same time to solve a system of ordinary differential equations in sections in front of and behind the impeller like with a constant flow rate.

The leakage mass transfer coefficients [13] is defined as follows:

In the case of wet steam flow with loss of moisture, crown overall mass transfer coefficient is given by

where ψm,i flow coefficient, is usually determined in function of the degree of humidity and pressure ratio [8].

An Introduction to Bearing Instability

Hydrodynamic bearings operating at high speeds encounter instability problems of oil whirl and whip. Instability may ruin not only the bearings but the entire machine. It is well-known that hydrodynamics bearings play an important role in determining and controlling the vibrations of a rotating machinery, because of the springs and dampers, and bearings strongly influence the critical speed and imbalance response. Under certain conditions, the bearings can create rotor instability which results in significant self-excited vibrations.

The types of stability here are for a balanced journal and are mentioned below. If, as time increases, the trajectory of the journal center goes to a point of the clearance circle and remains there indefinitely, then the bearing is considered to exhibit "point stability," Fig. 1(a). If, as time increases, the trajectory does not go to a point, as shown in Fig. 1(b) and (c), then the bearing, is considered to exhibit "point instability". Two types of instability are shown in Figure 1. In Fig 1(b) the trajectory continues to increases without bound, ultimately reaching the limit of the clearance circle, therefore, this case is called "unbounded ". As time increases eases, if the trajectory closes on itself forming a limit cycle, as shown in Fig 1(c), then the trajectory can be said to be "orbitally stable".

Satisfactory dynamic characteristics are essential to good bearing design. Hence it is very important for the designers to predict the journal center motion trajectories. AxSTREAM Bearing™ is used to calculate the hydrodynamic characteristics based on the mass-conserving mathematical model by applying the finite difference method with the successive over-relaxation (SOR) algorithm.

4.1 Formulation of the Problem

Mathematical models of gas and steam turbines stages, discussed above, allow to put the task of their geometry and gas-dynamic parameters optimization. This optimization problem is solved by the direct problem of stage calculation. The reason for this are the following considerations:

• – it is most naturally in optimizing to vary the geometry of the blades;
• – in the streamlines form refinement it is convenient to use well-established methods for the solution of the direct problem in the general axisymmetric formulation;
• – only a direct problem statement allows to optimize the stage, taking into account the off-design operation;
• – for the stages to be optimized, assumed to be given:
• – the distribution of the flow at the stage entrance;
• – the form of the meridian contours;
• – the number of revolutions of the rotor;
• – mass flow of the working fluid;
• – averaged integral heat drop.

In general, you want to determine the distribution along the certain axial sections of angles α1 and β2 to ensure maximum peripheral efficiency of the stage:

Here the inlet geometric angle of the rotor we assume equal to the angle of the inlet flow. Selection of the optimal angle β1g can be achieved solving an optimal profiling problem.

Study of a Supercritical CO2 Power Cycle Application in a Cogeneration Power Plant

This is an excerpt from a technical paper, presented at the ASME Power & Energy Conference in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania USA and  written by Oleksii Rudenko, Leonid Moroz, and  Maksym Burlaka.  Follow the link at the end of the post to read the full study!

Introduction

Supercritical CO2 operating in a closed-loop recompression Brayton cycle has the potential of equivalent or higher cycle efficiency versus supercritical or superheated steam cycles at similar temperatures [2]. The current applications of the supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle are intended for the electricity production only and the questions which are related to the building of CHP plants based on Supercritical CO2 technology were not considered yet.

CHP is the concurrent production of electricity or mechanical power and useful thermal energy (heating and/or cooling) from a single source of energy. CHP is a type of distributed generation, which, unlike central station generation, is located at located at or near the point of consumption. Instead of purchasing electricity from a local utility and then burning fuel in a furnace or boiler to produce thermal energy, consumers use CHP to improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For optimal efficiency, CHP systems typically are designed and sized to meet the users’ thermal base load demand. CHP is not a single technology but a suite of technologies that can use a variety of fuels to generate electricity or power at the point of use, allowing the heat that would normally be lost in the power generation process to be recovered to provide needed heating and/or cooling. This allows for much greater improvement in overall fuel efficiency, therefore resulting in lower costs and CO2 emissions. CHP’s potential for energy saving is vast.

It should be noted that CHP may not be widely recognized outside industrial, commercial, institutional, and utility circles, but it has quietly been providing highly efficient electricity and process heat to some of the most vital industries, largest employers, urban centers, and campuses. While the traditional method of separately producing useful heat and power has a typical combined efficiency of 45 %, CHP systems can operate at efficiency levels as high as 80 % (Figure 1) [1].

Taking into consideration the high efficiency of fuel energy utilization of CHP plants and the high potential of the supercritical CO2 technology, the latter should be also considered as the base of future CHP plants. The comparison with traditional Steam based CHP plants also should be performed.

The study of CHP plant concepts were performed with the use of the heat balance calculation tool AxCYCLE™ [3].