You are on page 1of 13

Heat TransferAsian Research, 42 (1), 2013

Numerical Investigation on the Flow Field of an Axial Flow Fan in a Direct Air-Cooled Condenser for a Large Power Plant
1

Wanli Zhao,1 Qiulin Qu,2 and Qiuyan Li1 North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China 2 Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronauts, Beijing, China

The flow field of an axial fan in a direct air-cooled condenser for a large power plant is modeled numerically. In order to improve the efficiency of heat exchange of the air-cooled condenser, methods of increasing the rotational velocity of the fan and laying out the guide blade at the outlet of the fan are adopted. Results show that increasing the rotational velocity of the fan can effectively increase the flux of the fan, and can improve the efficiency of an air-cooled condenser; laying out the guide blade at the fan outlet can ameliorate the flow field in an A-flame. This causes the rotational kinetic energy to change into static pressure at the fan outlet, so the ability of the heat exchange of the air-cooled condenser is improved. 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Heat Trans Asian Res, 42(1): 6072, 2013; Published online 7 November 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj). DOI 10.1002/htj.21027 Key words: axial flow fan, direct air-cooled condenser, flow field, fan performance, guide blade, power plant

1. Introduction An air-cooling fan is located at the bottom of an A-frame for a direct air-cooling system for a large power plant. The fan pumps the cool air to an air-cooled condenser and exchanges heat with the finned tubes; the cool air absorbs the heat from saturate steam in the finned tube and becomes hot air discharging into the atmosphere, as shown in Fig. 1. Zhu et al. [1] discussed a large-diameter axial fan of a direct air-cooled condenser, and analyzed the airfoil development of the air cooling fan, transmission mode, control technology, and other key issues. Kroger [2] carried out a performance analysis of an air-cooled condenser. Venter and Kroger [3] experimentally investigated the effect of a change in clearance between the blade tip and the fan casing on the overall performance of an axial flow fan. Bredell and Kroger [4] numerically investigated the effect of inlet flow distortions on the flow rate through the fans. Duvenhage et al. [5] and Salta and Kroger [6] experimentally studied the forced draft fan inflow distortions on the
Contract grant sponsors: National Nature Science Foundation Key Program of China (51039004); high-level personnel research start-up project of North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (001391).

2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. 60

Fig. 1. Direct air-cooled condenser. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] performance of an air-cooled heat exchanger. References 710 have investigated the flow field for a single fan by numerical simulation. However, in the hot summer, when the wind is blowing from the turbine house to the air-cooled condenser at speed of 6 m/s, the efficiency of an air-cooled condenser was greatly influenced, and even caused the system to break down. References 1113 showed that the main reason for the system breakdowns resulted from the hot recirculation formed under the cooling tower when the wind speed was up to 6 m/s; the inlet temperature of the air-cooled condenser was raised acutely, and then it reduced the efficiency of the air-cooled condenser, thereby causing the back pressure of the air-cooled condenser to increase rapidly, leading to a unit shutdown for protection. Yet, after the air flow of the fan within the A-frame is rotating, the flow pattern is very complex. The flow field within the A-frame directly determines the thermal efficiency of the heat exchanger. However, the flow field within an A-frame of a direct air-cooled condenser has a few concerns. There is a need to determine the flow field of an A-frame, and to take effective measures to improve the flow field of the A-frame which can increase the exchange capacity of an air-cooled condenser, and will contribute to our theoretical investigation and engineering application. In this study, the influence of the rotating speed of a fan on the performance and flow field inside the A-frame of a direct air-cooled condenser is numerically investigated using the computational fluid dynamics code, FLUENT. In order to improve the internal flow field of the A-frame, a guide blade was installed in the exit of the fan which could improve the efficiency of heat dissipation for the air-cooled condenser. Nomenclature D: N: n: Ps: Pd: Pt: diameter of fan, m shaft power, kW rotating speed, rad/min static pressure, Pa dynamic pressure, Pa total pressure, Pa 61

Fig. 2. Axial flow fan. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] Q: R: Vy: V: s: t: rated flux, m3/s radius of fan, m axial direction velocity, m/s circumrotating velocity, m/s static pressure efficiency total pressure efficiency

2. Physical Models

The axial flow fan of an air-cooled unit of a 600-MW direct air-cooled power plant in China is shown in Fig. 2. The diameter of the fan is D = 8.91 m, rated speed n = 67.6 rpm, rated flux Q = 447 m3/s, rated static pressure Ps = 104 Pa, rated dynamic pressure Pd = 25.39 Pa, and rated shaft power N = 78.4 kW. In order to obtain the flow field of the A-frame, investigate the influence of the fan speed on the internal flow structure of the A-frame, and reveal the impact on heat capacity of an air-cooled condenser, an investigation was undertaken. The numerical investigation was carried out by changing the rotating speed of the axial flow fan; the calculation conditions under different rotating speeds of the axial flow fan are shown in Table 1. To improve the flow field of the A-frame of the direct air-cooled condenser, a guide blade is installed in the fan exit. The guide blade consists of nine blades and has a certain twist angle distribution. Figure 3 shows the relative position between the axial fan and guide blade. Table 1. Calculation Condition

62

Fig. 3. Axial flow fan and guide blade. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] 3. Numerical Methods The computational fluid dynamics code FLUENT, which is based on the finite volume methods, solves the Reynolds-averaged NavierStokes equations for an incompressible fluid and the effect of turbulence on the flow field is included in the application of the standard k turbulence model. The second-order upwind schemes are applied to discretize the convective terms in the momentum, energy, and turbulence equations and the central difference scheme is used for the diffusive terms. The SIMPLE algorithm for pressure-velocity coupling is employed. 3.1 Control equations Within the air-cooled unit, the velocity of air flow is not sufficient, and temperature changes which affect the flow field are very small, so the flow can be treated as an incompressible flow. Unsteady RANS incompressible viscous flow equations are written as (1)

(2) ___ where ij is the viscous stress and uigujg is the Reynolds stress, (3)

(4)

(5) Standard k turbulent model is as follows:

63

Fig. 4. Grid outside surface of air-cooled unit. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.]

Fig. 5. Grid distribution of blade surface. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.]

(6)

(7) where Gk = t / 2(ui / xj + uj / xi)2, C = 0.99, k = 1.0, = 1.3, C1 = 1.44, C2 = 1.92. 3.2 Grid

Using a mixture grid (including tetrahedral and hexahedral meshes) to divide the flow field, the entire flow field is divided into 8 sub-regions, the total grid number is 1.4 million, and boundary layer mesh is 104. The grid distribution outside surface of the air-cooled unit and blade surface is

Fig. 6. Boundary condition. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] 64

shown in Figs. 4 and 5. A sliding mesh is used to deal with the relative motion between the axial flow fan and fan casing and the inlet bell mouth. 3.3 Boundary conditions Boundary conditions used in the calculation are shown in Fig. 6. The upstream axial flow fan was set as the pressure inlet boundary conditions, the relative static pressure Ps = 0 Pa; the heat exchange surface was set as the pressure outlet boundary conditions, and is a relatively static Ps = 80 Pa; the axial flow fan, guide blade, electric drive, and wall partitions are set as non-slipping wall boundary conditions. 4. Results and Discussion 4.1 The influence of speed on the performance and flow field of an axial flow fan When the rated rotating speed n = 67.6 rpm, the design value and calculated value of fan performance parameters are shown in Table 2, and the relative error is defined as Relative error = (calculated value design value)/design value From Table 2, we can find that the calculation results are lower than the design value in the fan parameters, but the absolute value of relative error is within 10%, the maximum of the absolute value of relative error of dynamic pressure is 9.11%, and the minimum of the absolute value of relative error of static pressure is 2.84%. The calculation value of the fan performance parameters under different rotating speeds is shown in Table 3. Figures 7(a) to 7(g) give the performance curve of the axial flow fan. From Figs. 7(a) to 7(g) we can see that as the rotating speed increases, the flux, total pressure, dynamic pressure, static pressure, and shaft power all increase, but total efficiency and static efficiency decrease. Increasing the rotating speed results in an increase extent of dynamic pressure and the total pressure of the fan is large; the increase extent of static pressure of the fan is small, so the decrease extent of the static pressure efficiency is larger than that of the total pressure efficiency of the fan. The results are in good agreement with literature [14]. Table 2. Rated Rotating Speed n = 67.6 rpm, the Design and Calculated Value of Fan Performance Parameters

65

Table 3. The Calculation Value of Fan Performance Parameters under Different Rotating Speeds

In the outlet of the axial flow fan, an intercept of a plane which is perpendicular to the axial flow fan and close to fan is positioned, the average velocity follows a circular direction in a radial distribution in this intercept plane under different rotating speeds. From Fig. 8 we can see that, as rotating speed increases, the axial direction velocity and rotating velocity in the exit of the axial flow fan all increase. The increased axial direction velocity leads to increases of the flux of the axial flow fan. Axial direction velocity and rotating velocity in the exit of the axial flow fan are approximately equal in magnitude. This illuminates that the circumvolving speed is very intense. From Fig. 8(a) we can see that from the blade root to blade tip, the axial direction velocity increases gradually, and the axial direction velocity is maximum when r / R 0.7 to 0.9; when r/R is larger than 0.9, the axial direction velocity rapidly decreases to a negative value. This is mainly because the radial gap lies between the blade tip and fan casing and the inlet bell mouth, and the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet of fan which made the airflow causes an adverse flow in the gap.

Fig. 7(a). Relationship between flux and rotating speed. 66

Fig. 7(b). Relationship between total pressure and rotating speed.

Fig. 7(c). Relationship between dynamic pressure and rotating speed.

Fig. 7(d). Relationship between static pressure and rotating speed.

Fig. 7(e). Relationship between shaft power and rotating speed.

Fig. 7(f). Relationship between total pressure efficiency and rotating speed.

Fig. 7(g). Relationship between static pressure efficiency and rotating speed. 67

Fig. 8(a). Distribution of axial direction velocity. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.]

Fig. 8(b). Distribution of circumrotating velocity. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.]

From Fig. 8(b) we can see that, from the blade root to blade tip, the rotating speed increases gradually, reaching maximum when r/R 0.4 to 0.6; when r/R is larger than 0.6, the rotating speed decreases gradually, when r/R is larger than 0.95, the rotating speed rapidly decreases to 0. This is mainly because the inner wall of the fan casing and the inlet bell mouth are satisfied with the no slipping boundary conditions. When the rated rotating speed n = 67.6 rpm, the velocity vector distribution of the cross section of the axial flow fan inlet and outlet is shown in Figs. 9 and 10. From the axial flow fan speed triangle we can see that axial velocity in the cross section of the fan inlet and outlet is equal in magnitude; part of the power of axial flow fan has improved the flow of static pressure and another part of the power of the axial flow fan has increased the rotating speed of the air flow. Figures 9 and 10 show

Fig. 9. The velocity vector distribution of the exit section in rated rotating speed. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] 68

Fig. 10. The velocity vector distribution of the exit section in rated rotating speed. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.]

Fig. 11. The space structure of the flow line within the A-frame. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] these results. The velocity vector distributions of the cross section in the entrance show that the axial flow fan pumping has made the air flow to the gap between two adjacent blades. The velocity vector distributions of the cross section of the exit shows that the axial flow fan worked to increase the rotating speed of the air flow. When the rated rotating speed n = 67.6 rpm, the space distribution of flow lines within the A-frame is shown in Fig. 11. From the figure we can find that, when air flow enters the A-frame, the rotating flow becomes very strong. Meanwhile, part of the rotational kinetic energy from the fan exit is lost, so it is necessary to lay out a guide blade in the outlet of the axial flow fan to change the air flow direction. 4.2 The influence of laying out the guide blade on the performance and flow field of the fan When the rated rotating speed n = 67.6 rpm, the performance of the axial flow fan under the conditions with and without a guide blade is shown in Table 4. As can be seen from Table 4, after installing the guide blade in the outlet of the axial flow fan, the guide blade blocked the flow and made the flux of the fan decrease; the friction wear and tear of the guide blade made the total pressure of the air flow drop; the guide blade made most of the rotating dynamic pressure translate into static pressure, so the static pressure of the air flow increases and the dynamic pressure decreases; the guide blade also increased the shaft power. After installing the guide blade in the outlet of the axial flow fan, the flux and the total pressure decreases, the shaft power increases, thus reducing the total pressure efficiency; meanwhile, the flux decreases, the shaft power increases, but the static pressure increases, so the static efficiency is only slightly reduced. Figure 12 shows the space flow line inside the A-frame after the installation of a guide blade in the axial flow fan exit under the rated speed. From the interior flow field of the A-frame we can see that, because of the diversion effect of the guide blade, the rotation strength of the internal flow 69

Table 4. The Performance of Fan under the Conditions of No Guide Blade and with Guide Blade at Rated Speed

field of the A-frame significantly decreased. The viscous losses resulted in the rotation reduction, and part of the rotating dynamic pressure changes into static pressure of the air flow, which can improve the heat transfer of the air-cooled condenser. For the case of no guide blade in the fan exit, in the outlet of the axial flow fan, the intercept plane is perpendicular to the axis of axial flow fan and close to the fan. For the case when a guide blade is installed in the fan exit, the intercept plane is perpendicular to the axis of the axial flow fan and close to the guide blade. The radial distribution of the average rotation speed of the axial flow fan along the circumferential direction in a section of the fan exit is shown in Fig. 13. From the figure we can see that, after installing the guide blade in the fan exit, the rotating speed in the exit is greatly

Fig. 12. The space structure flow line inside the A-frame after installing the guide blade. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] 70

Fig. 13. The radial distribution of the average rotation speed of fan along the circumferential direction in the section of the fan exit. [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/htj.] reduced, and the rotating dynamic pressure changes into static pressure of the air flow. This can help improve the cooling capacity of the air cooling unit. 5. Conclusions After analysis of fan performance and the flow field inside the A-frames of a direct air-cooled condenser under different rotating speeds, and numerical measurement tests to improve the efficiency of the direct air-cooled condenser, the following conclusions are summarized: For the case of no guide blade in the outlet of the fan, the rotating speed of the fan, flux, total pressure, dynamic pressure, static pressure, and shaft power of the fan are all increased, which can increase the heat-dispelling capacity of an air-cooled condenser. Under the condition of rated speed, after installing a guide blade in the fan exit, the rotating speed of the air flow is greatly reduced in the fan exit, the flux, total pressure and dynamic pressure are all reduced, and the static pressure and shaft power increase as well, which can enhance the heat transfer capability of the air-cooled condenser. Acknowledgments This work was financially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation Key Program of China (51039004); and the high-level personnel research start-up project of North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (001391). The authors are grateful to the other members of our groups for their numerical performances throughout this work. Literature Cited 1. Zhu J, Gao Y, Du X. The discussion on the large diameter fan of direct air-cooled condenser for a power plant. The cooling information compilation of direct air-cooled power plant. North China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd., 2003. p 278282. 71

2. Kroger DG. Fan performance of direct air-cooled condenser for power plant. Translated by Shanxi Electric Power Technology, The cooling information compilation of direct air-cooled power plant. North China Electric Power Research Institute Co., Ltd. 2003, p 283286. 3. Venter SJ, Kroger DG. The effect of tip clearance on the performance of an axial flow fan. Energy Convers Mgmt 1991;33:8997. 4. Bredell JR, Kroger DG, Thiart GD. Numerical investigation of fan performance in a forced draft air-cooled steam condenser. Appl Therm Eng 2006;26:846852. 5. Duvenhage K, Vermeulen JA, Meyer CA, Kroger DG. Flow distortions at the fan inlet of forced-draught air-cooled heat exchangers. Appl Therm Eng 1996;16:741752. 6. Salta CA, Kroger DG. Effect of inlet flow distortions on fan performance in forced draught air-cooled heat exchangers. Heat Recovery Syst CHP 1995;15:555561. 7. Wang P. Draw on experience to develop direct air-cooling technology of large fossil-fuel power unit in China [J]. North China Electric Power 2004;5:3138. 8. Yang J, Sun G, Wen G. Analysis of numerical simulation for blower flow field [J]. J WuHan University of Technol 2004;28:763765. 9. Tian B, Xi D, Xu Y, Gan S. Research on numerical in the internal flow field of axial fan [J]. Compressor Blower Fan Technol 2004;5:1013. 10. Fu S. Numerical study on optimum design of centrifugal fan inlet box [J]. J North China Electric Power University 2004;31:5658. 11. Zhang WX, Yang LJ, Du XZ, Yang YP. Thermo-flow characteristics and air flow field leading of the air-cooled condenser cell in a power plant. Sci China Tech Sci 2011;54(9):24752482. 12. Yang LJ, Du XZ, Zhang H, Yang YP. Numerical investigation on the cluster effect of an array of axial flow fans for air-cooled condensers in a power plant. Chinese Science Bulletin 2011;56(21):22722280. 13. Zhao W, Liu P. Evaluation criteria and the generation of thermal recirculation of under the tower of air-cooling system for power plant [A]. 2007 Conference Paper of Annual Academic Meeting of Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics [C], Beijing: Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2007, 148. 14. Liu P, Zhao W. Experimental research on wind tunnel thermal effect simulation of direct air-cooling system in thermal power plant [J]. J Eng Therm Energy Power 2008;23:240243. 15. Zhao W, Liu P. Experimental researches of the effect of environmental wind on thermal recirculation under the tower of direct air cooled system [J]. J Power Eng 2008;28:390394. 16. Liu P, Duan H, Zhao W. Numerical investigation of hot air recirculation of air-cooled condensers at a large power plant [J]. Appl Therm Eng 2009;9:19261934.

"F F F"

72