Designing Turbomachinery is like Solving a Rubik's Cube

by Barbara Shea on Sep 21, 2018 10:01:00 AM

I think we can all agree that designing turbomachinery is hard. There are just so many moving parts (pun intended) in the design process, and they are all interconnected.  When you change the blade shape, it changes the aerodynamics, and could impact manufacturability. Everything you change has a cascading effect across many different areas, because all of the areas are linked; just like a Rubik's® cube! Only, in turbomachinery design, you are not always trying to get all of the sides to be one color. Heck, even a 3-year old can do that

Investing in Designing Gas Turbines for Power Generation

by David Teal on Sep 14, 2018 11:46:08 AM

Gas turbines (or GTs) are important in the power generation sector due to their high efficiency, cleaner emissions and faster startup than old coal-powered plants. These power generators can range from small, local power supplies to huge units, large enough to power a city.  Even with the surge in renewable energy sources, there will always be a need for power when the sun goes down, on a windless day or when power peaks are expected. GTs fill this power gap. GTs are very power dense, meaning they can produce a lot of power in a relatively small footprint. This is very useful in a city, offshore, or where vast landmasses are unavailable. 

Trends in Composite Materials for Turbomachinery Applications

by Arsalan Adil on Sep 7, 2018 8:54:51 AM

The advancement of composite material technologies over the past few decades has contributed to their widespread use in a vast array of aerospace applications. Most applications target weight reduction without compromising the strength and endurance capabilities of the metallic structures being replaced. The high-strength composite materials used in advanced applications involving elevated temperature conditions are, typically, continuous fibrous material embedded in a matrix material that acts to hold the fibers together. The fibers in the matrix material can be oriented in various directions to achieve the desired mechanical properties in any specific direction. Weight reduction is achieved by eliminating redundant fiber material for the directions in which material strength and stiffness are not required by the design.

Frequently, there is a need to reconstruct 2D and 3D geometry from reported or measured surface data points. In most cases, the provided surface data include significant amounts of noise for various reasons, including quality of the scanned blade, deviations produced by the measurement system, curve digitization errors, data digital rounding and truncation, and errors in reporting the data.  This noise hampers quality surface reconstruction and masks the understanding of the design intent of the profiles.  It also affects the accurate representation of the geometry, manufacturing complexity, and aero performance which forms the basis on which a design engineer can execute any design improvements.

Early Water Handling

by Mark R. Anderson on Aug 24, 2018 8:17:20 AM

I am fascinated by ancient cultures. After my recent visits to Roman ruins in Central Europe (see  A Turbomachinery Engineer's Summer Vacation), I began to wonder how far back mankind’s mastery of air and water handling actually went.  Turns out, quite far. So far, in fact, that it goes back to the very origins of civilization, and was perhaps, even a necessary precursor of civilization.

Yellow Ropes

by Jim Miller on Aug 17, 2018 9:36:45 AM

In the mid 1980’s, while serving in the Canadian Air Force, I had the good fortune, on one of my many adventures, to fly into Sondrestrom Air Base in Greenland. The Base is at the head of a beautiful fjord, so the scenery during the flight to Sondrestrom was magnificent. We arrived in the early summer on a beautiful clear day. I got out of the plane and wandered around the base while the aircraft was being serviced. One feature that caught my eye was all of the bright yellow ropes and stanchions that were strung from building to building. I couldn’t figure out what they were for, so I stopped one of the locals and asked, “Why the Yellow Ropes?”  Now, for those who are not students of the geography of Greenland, Sondrestrom is north of the Arctic Circle, and, apparently, the weather is not always as bright and clear as it was that day! As a matter of fact, one of the meteorological phenomena in the area was virtually instantaneous whiteouts, caused by snowstorms funneling up the fjord. Several people had been caught out between buildings and become disoriented during a blinding storm, a dangerous thing during the long darkness of winter. To eliminate this danger, they had put up the yellow ropes to safely guide people to their destination.

The Challenges & Cures of CFD Solution Failures

by Mark R. Anderson on Aug 3, 2018 10:04:04 AM

Computational fluid dynamic analysis (CFD) has become a standard part of the turbomachinery design process. Within Concepts NREC’s Agile Engineering Design System, FINE/Turbo, from our Partner NUMECA International, is the tool used to accomplish aerodynamic analysis of designs by applying standard methods of three-dimensional analysis. However, arriving at a converged CFD solution in any CFD program can sometimes be a challenge.

A Turbomachinery Engineer's Summer Vacation

by Mark R. Anderson on Jul 26, 2018 1:48:21 PM

This year's ASME Turbo Expo in Norway inspired me to tack on a vacation to explore European cities on my bucket list. Being an engineer, and student of ancient cultures, part of my trip included visiting Roman ruins in Cologne, Vienna, and Budapest. Looking at these fascinating sites and seeing first-hand their mastery of the handling of both air and water made me rethink the notion that control and distribution of fluid is a strictly modern invention. 


The Slip Factor Model for Axial, Radial, and Mixed-Flow Impellers

by Mark Anderson and Chanaka Mallikarachchi on Jul 20, 2018 10:00:25 AM

Ideally, the exit flow angle for an impeller should be the same as the exit blade metal angle. However, the exit flow angle deviates from the blade guidance at the impeller exit due to the finite number of blades. Correctly predicting flow deviation is a critical task in meanline and through-flow modeling because the exit flow angle is directly related to the work input and the pressure rise across the impeller.

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