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Numerical simulation of the blade channel vortices in a Francis turbine runner

Lingjiu Zhou (College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China)
Meng Liu (College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China)
Zhengwei Wang (Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Demin Liu (Research and Test Center Dongfang Electrical Machine, Dongfang Electrical Machinery Co, Deyang, China)
Yongzhi Zhao (Research and Test Center Dongfang Electrical Machine, Dongfang Electrical Machinery Co, Deyang, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 18 April 2017

206

Abstract

Purpose

This study analyzes the blade channel vortices inside Francis runner with a particular focus on the identification of different types of vortices and their causes.

Design/methodology/approach

A single-flow passage of the Francis runner with refined mesh and periodic boundary conditions was used for the numerical simulation to reduce the computational resource. The steady-state Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations closed with the k-ω shear–stress transport (SST) turbulence model were solved by ANSYS CFX to determine the flow field. The vortices were identified by the second largest eigenvalue of velocity.

Findings

Four types of vortices were identified inside the runner. Three types were related to the inlet flow. The last one (Type 4) was caused by the reversed flow near the runner crown and had the lowest pressure inside the core near the runner outlet. Thus, in the blade channel vortex inception line, Type 4 vortex would appear earlier than the other three ones. Besides, the Type 4 vortex emerged from the crown and shed toward the blade-trailing edge. And its location moved from near the crown down to near the band when the unit speed increased or unit discharge decreased.

Research limitations/implications

Although the refined mesh was used and the main vortices in the Francis runner were well predicted, the current mesh is not enough to accurately predict the lowest pressure in the channel vortex core.

Practical/implications

This knowledge is instructive in the runner blade design and troubleshooting related to the channel vortex.

Originality/value

This study gives an overview of the main observed blade channel vortices and their causes, and points out the important role the reversed flow plays in the formation of blade channel vortices. This knowledge is instructive in the runner blade design and troubleshooting related to blade channel vortices.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51279205) and the Open Research Funded Project of Key Laboratory of Fluid Machinery in Sichuan Province (Xihua University) (Grant No. Szjj2012-041).

Citation

Zhou, L., Liu, M., Wang, Z., Liu, D. and Zhao, Y. (2017), "Numerical simulation of the blade channel vortices in a Francis turbine runner", Engineering Computations, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 364-376. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-10-2015-0302

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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