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Turbomachinery Process Solutions

Key Takeaways

  • Turbomachinery process solutions include compressors, turbines, pumps, and similar components that convert fluid energy to mechanical energy and vice versa. 

  • The efficiency of turbomachinery process solutions may be lost due to design errors, energy loss, turbulence, pressure drops, etc., leading to issues like shock waves or cavitation in different mediums. 

  • Through a thorough analysis of stress, strain, energy loss, pressure changes, and flow patterns within the turbomachinery process solution, CFD simulation enables design optimization to improve machine efficiency. 

Turbomachinery process solutions

Turbomachinery is a critical part of modern engineering; its uses include aerospace, power generation, and automotive applications. Turbomachinery process solutions such as compressors, turbines, and pumps have made it easier to convert energy from one form to another and transfer these energies between different components. Efficiency is the most sought-after quality for such turbomachinery, and engineers should prioritize the design and optimization of turbomachinery process solutions as a key point of research. 

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to optimize the shape and size of the turbomachinery components. With its ability to visualize fluid flow behavior and make numerical analysis of its effects, CFD is a powerful tool. In this article, we will discuss how to use CFD for the design and optimization of turbomachinery process solutions. 

Optimizing for Efficiency in Turbomachinery Process Solutions

In the design of turbomachinery process solutions, the study of efficiency starts with the analysis of flow behavior. The way fluid interacts with the turbomachinery component, such as the impeller, impacts the force and power generated. The efficiency of the process is lost when:

  • There is energy loss due to wall friction and turbulent dissipation.
  • The flow separates from the surface of the rotor due to incorrect design or unstable flow.
  • Cavitation problems arise due to a sudden drop of fluid pressure below the vapor pressure, causing the formation of bubbles. 
  • Shock waves form at supersonic speeds, causing an abrupt change in pressure, temperature, and density of the fluid. 

Engineers should take a careful approach to the design of the rotor system so that there is minimal energy loss and maximum energy transfer between fluid and components. This requires careful analysis of fluid behavior, turbomachine geometry, and flow conditions. 

CFD simulation facilitates the analysis of flow through the turbomachine. The visual approach provides insight into the area of pressure and velocity changes,  flow pattern changes, energy losses, etc. This data is of high significance in the optimization of turbomachinery process solutions. 

CFD Simulation: Turbomachinery Optimization Best Practices

Turbomachinery process solutions

The goal of CFD simulation is to provide detailed insight into the performance of turbomachinery. This is done by visualizing flow patterns and predicting system behavior under different flow conditions. The analysis of quantities like pressure drop, heat transfer, turbulence, etc., and their comparison with design specifications allows engineers to identify the design changes required to improve turbomachine efficiency.

To do so, CFD simulation involves the following set of best practices. 

CFD Simulation Best Practices

Define the Geometry

Create a 3D model of the turbomachinery process solution. The geometry should be clearly defined so that the model accurately reflects the shape and dimension of the machine.

Fluid Properties and Flow Conditions

Define the properties of the fluid, such as thedensity or viscosity. Additionally, defining operating conditions such as the flow rate, temperature, and pressure is important for understanding the flow within the system.

Fine Meshing

Divide the defined geometry into a finite number of cells or elements. The mesh created should be fine enough to capture every detail of the flow behavior.

Well-Defined Boundary Conditions

Define the boundary conditions of the flow, including at the inlet and outlet of the turbomachine, to capture the changes in pressure and velocity.

Numerical Analysis

Run the simulation and solve the governing equation associated with the flow. Based on the numerical result, analyze the high and low velocity, pressure difference, point of transition, etc.

Improve Turbomachinery Design for Maximum Energy Transfer

Through meshing, turbulent modeling, and numerical analysis, CFD facilitates the optimization of different aspects of turbomachinery.

  1. The study of stress and strain in the turbine facilitates the identification of ideal material properties. 

  2. The analysis of flow patterns through different components within the turbomachine can help in the identification of areas of turbulence, drag, pressure loss, or other inefficiencies. The design can be adjusted to improve the overall performance of the turbomachinery. 

  3. Identifying areas of high velocity or potential for cavitation can help engineers make changes to the shape and size of the impeller so that the flow through the turbomachinery is more effective. 

Tools like Fidelity and Fidelity Pointwise from Cadence make such simulation and analysis possible. Through fine meshing, solving governing Navier-Stokes equations, turbulent modeling, and numerical simulations, these CFD platforms facilitate an understanding of flow properties and their impact on turbomachinery performance. Engineers can use this knowledge to make optimal flow paths and geometrical changes so the turbomachinery process solutions produce high efficiency. 

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About the Author

With an industry-leading meshing approach and a robust host of solver and post-processing capabilities, Cadence Fidelity provides a comprehensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) workflow for applications including propulsion, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, and combustion.

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