VA TECH HYDRO
Safety Engineering for the 423 MWPeltonRunners at Bieudron
1
Safety Engineering for the 423 MWPelton Runners at Bieudron
R. Angehrn ^{1} VATECH ESCHER WYSS, Zurich, Switzerland
ABSTRACT The extreme output and head conditions at Bieudron (3 x 423 MW, H = 1869 m) and the unusual runner size (outer diameter 4.63 m) demanded aboveaverage engineering effort for runner development and design. Apart from developing profiles for best hydraulic effi ciency the most demanding tasks at this stage were to meet the mechanical requirements of the integrally cast runners mainly with regard to corrosion fatigue and cavitation behaviour. Life cycle assessment and optimisation of the inspection periods rely on the stress results of theoretical analysis by FEA. As a world novelty, the runner stress analysis is based on bucket pressure distributions from laboratory measurements, carried out for the first time on a rotat ing runner. Initial experience after about 2000 hours of operation with each of the 3 turbines can be summarized as successful: the measured hydraulic efficiency complies with the guarantee figures. No signs of fatigue damage have been encountered up to now on the exceptionally highloaded runners.
INTRODUCTION
As scheduled, the new Swiss power station Bieudron ^{2} (3 x 423 MW, H = 1869 m) was suc cessfully commissioned by the end of 1998 [1]. During the 1 ^{s}^{t} year of operation until the end of October 1999, the 3 units operated between 1500 and 2200 hours and the runner buckets experienced up to 200 million load cycles by jet impingement. The extreme conditions in the plant can be described, for example, by the maximum jet force which is only a little less than 1 MegaNewton (1 MN). This value can best be envisaged as the deadweight of a modern high speed locomotive which, however, would be hopping with high frequency from bucket to bucket and not just rolling or resting on its rails. The question of how to design and manu facture runners for such demanding conditions is the main topic of this paper.
RUNNER DESIGN
Development of the turbines for Bieudron power plant meant a real step forward in the de sign of Pelton turbines [2]. The design requirements demanded new engineering and de
sign tools, as well as a major extension of existing physical knowhow on Pelton turbines. Among a series of other special R&D tasks for Bieudron, three main studies may be men tioned:
1. On a single jet model turbine, a detailed experimental flow study was performed to de velop the necessary knowledge for final selection of the basic turbine concept (three 5jet turbines instead of four 4jet units) as well as for determination of the acceptable amount of cavitation erosion [3, 4].
2. Optimisation of the complete turbine profile on a homologous vertical 5jet model turbine; determination of the prototype efficiency guarantees.
3. Detailed design study for all main turbine parts, mainly focused on the mechanical design of the runners which is the main issue of this paper.
^{1} Richard Angehrn, Senior Engineer, VATECH ESCHER WYSS Ltd., Hardstr. 319/P.O. Box, CH8023 Zurich Tel. (+41) 1 278 2406, Fax (+41) 1 278 2819, email: richard.angehrn@vatew.ch ^{2} Pelton turbine engineering and supply was by the “Groupement CleusonDixence, GCD”, comprising Hydro Vevey and the former Sulzer Hydro, now VATECH ESCHER WYSS, as consortium leader
2
Some characteristic data are shown in Tables 1 and 2 as follows:
Table 1. Turbine data
Table 2. Runner data
Number of turbines Rated turbine output 
3 
Outer 
diameter 
4630 mm 

Rated plant output 
1200 MW 423 MW 
Width of buckets 620 mm Number of buckets 26 

Rated 
head 
1869 m 
Weight of runner 
29’000 kg 

Synchronous speed 
428.6 min ^{}^{1} 
Weight of a bucket 380 kg 

Runaway speed 
756 min ^{}^{1} 
Max. jet force 944 kN 

Rated flow 
25 m ^{3} /s 
Centrifugal bucket force 1470 kN at synchronous speed 

Jet pitch diameter 
3993 mm 
Type of coupling 
Friction type 

Number of nozzles 
5 
Material ^{3} 
stainless cast steel GX5 CrNi 13 4 
MEASUREMENT OF PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION
Approximate pressure data can be gained from stationary measurements on individual buckets [5, 6]. However, the pressure distribution on a rotating runner can only be deter mined with considerable outlay in instrumentation and data processing, since CFD is not yet available. Measurements of unsteady pressure distribution were carried out on a Bieudron model runner under homologous conditions in a test rig [7]. Fig. 1 shows a snapshot of pressure distribution by jet impingement, as an example.
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
runner rotation angle [°]
Figure 1. Pressure distribution at the instant of maximum loading; p _{m}_{a}_{x} corresponds to 21% of the net head pressure.
Fig. 2 shows the relative bending moment at the bucket root as a function of rotation angle or time. The curve is derived from bending moment measurements by strain gauges at a bucket root, and the slightly deviating points are based on integration of the pressure signals over the bucket. The coincidence at full impingement is nearly perfect. Some underestima tion at jet entrance is due to lack of sensors near the inlet edges because of their thinness. The data obtained on hydrodynamic load distribution is not projectrelated and forms an important basis for design optimisation, also in connection with new manufacturing meth ods such as MicroGuss™ and FiberGuss™ [8, 9, 10]. As a world novelty, the runner design stress analysis was based on bucket pressure distributions from laboratory measurements, carried out for the first time on a rotating runner.
Figure 2. Characteristic of bending moment at the bucket root during jet impingement. Comparison of the measured moment and the moment based on pmeasurement.
^{3} Cast in 1991 at Georg Fischer, Schaffhausen, Switzerland, shortly before closing of their steel foundry
3
FINITE ELEMENT STRESS ANALYSIS
3a) original design
Figure 3. Maximum principal stress due to highest pressure loading at a net head of 1869 m and a turbine power of 423 MW; the jet position angle with reference to the bucket rim plane is nearly perpendicular (93°).
At the time of carrying out this analysis, solid modelling based on 3DCAD was not adequa tely developed. The geometry was defined based on Bspline surface definition [11], and cre ation of the 3Dmesh needed considerable manual effort. Due to the complex geometry and large differences in wall thickness, modelling was carried out exclusively with tetrahedral elements. The 10node element used here is specially recommended by the FE software sup plier for such applications, and gives better accuracy than 4node elements, although with substantially more computing outlay (8500 degrees of freedom or unknowns in the simul taneous equation system). For symmetry reasons, only one bucket half was modelled. Finite element stress analysis was then carried out for centrifugal force loading and selected pressure loading according to project conditions [1, 4]. Various geometrical alternatives were computed. In the final design version the wall thickness was progressively increased (up to 40 %) along the bucket rim towards the root (b). As shown in Fig. 3b, this led to stress reliev ing at this point (b) and equalising of the stresses at the three most highly loaded locations – middle ridge fillet (a), bucket rim (b) and inlet edge (c). An interesting point is that originally (Fig. 3a) the highest stress at (b) did not result from peak jet force and bending moment, but occurred under the conditions shown here after the beginning of the unloading phase, with bucket emptying obliquely outwards, in arrow direction. Due to the force exerted on the bucket shells, extra loading is applied not only to the bucket rim (b) but also to the inlet edge (c). Under centrifugal loading the wall thickness modification led to a 45% reduction in peak stress at the bucket rim (b) of the final design, Fig. 3b.
3b) final designFigure
FATIGUE EVALUATION AND LIFE TIME
In Fig. 4 the FEA stress results are compared with the results of a traditional analysis method called PELTBE ^{4} . The differences, although not too large, need some clarification. The static stress part (= mean stress) resulting from FEA is negligible at the mouth, average at the hot spot (= root fillet of the middle ridge) and highest at the bucket rim. The PELTBE value lies
^{4} PELTBE is a computer programm for Pelton stress analysis based on beam theory
4
midway between the latter two. Keeping the explanations above in mind, this is understanda ble. The dynamic stress parts of FEA at the hot spot, mouth and rim are well equalised, this
being a quality label of the design. The PELTBE value, however, is at a 60% higher level. For
a better understanding, one has to be aware of the conservative PELTBE assumptions:
R =0
Mean Stress [MPa]
_{a} = 27 MPa
Figure 4. Bucket design stress results at 1869 m net head and 423 MW. PELTBE vs. FEA results. The Haigh
diagram defines
fatigue limits for cast
steel GX5CrNi13 4
based on tests of the
Darmstadt Betriebs festigkeit Laboratory, LBF [12]. Samples are taken from near surface zones. Load cycle numbers > 1E8 are extrapolated.
At the bucket root the section area and the area moment of inertia are calculated with a redu ced profile width, namely with a width that corresponds to the thickness of the adjoining disk. However, since the effective root stiffness at Bieudron is higher than usual the support ing width is larger than assumed. Based on the stress analysis a runner lifetime of 80’000 hours at full power, equivalent to about 10 ^{1}^{0} load cycles, was indicated in the contract. Partload hours are evaluated accord ing to their reduced damaging effect compared with full power operation (Chapter 10). The example shows a design optimisation step which was enabled by application of the abovementioned tools. The traditional method would not have allowed sufficiently deep in sight into the problem to establish this improvement.
FINITE ELEMENT MODAL ANALYSIS VS. EXPERIMENT
The theoretical analysis (Fig. 5) assumes identical mass and stiffness of all buckets although the reality is different. However, valuable information is obtained on the natural frequency amplitudes of the basic bending vibration modes. Since with integrally cast runners the buckets are not fully machined at rear, their geometry can deviate from the precise design profile. This causes some scatter of the natural frequencies, and deviations from the theoreti cal analysis. This method shows up all modes in the frequency range of interest, whereas measurement by hammer excitation normally does not. Namely the two lowest modes of Fig. 5 were not contained in the response spectra.
HYDRAULIC EXCITATION SPECTRUM
Assuming that the bending moment characteristic (Fig. 2) determined on the model runner
is transferable to the full size prototype, the discrete Fourier spectrum of the bucket excitation
forces can be established (Fig. 6). Compared with previously published examples [13, 14], it
is advantageous for the Bieudron runners that the harmonics in the vicinity of the lowest
5
measured natural bucket frequencies (approx. 760 – 775 Hz, Fig. 9) have a 50 % higher order number, namely i = 21 at 750 Hz and i = 22 at 785.8 Hz. Consequently, the relative amplitude of the bending moment or stress at the bucket root is smaller (< 0.0003, Fig. 6). For this reason, the dynamic stress characteristic (Fig. 7) contains less superimposed dynamic stress than originally expected, thus increasing the runner safety. Nevertheless, careful detuning was carried out, as explained in the following.
Bieudron
1st natural mode, f = 508 Hz
Bieudron
6th natural mode, f = 761 Hz
Bieudron
2nd natural mode, f = 576 Hz
Bieudron
7th natural mode, f = 761 Hz
Figure 5. Calculated frequencies of the first 6 natural modes of bucket bending vibration:
f _{1} = 508 Hz, f _{2} = 576 Hz, f _{3} = 706 Hz, f _{4} = 761 Hz, f _{5} = 761 Hz, f _{6} = 762 Hz. i = number of mode, n = i – 1 = number of vibration node diameters ‘nd’.
bucket excitation spectra
frequency [Hz]
Figure 6. Discrete Fourier spectrum of jet impingement force on prototype for 1 and 5jet operation (Z _{0} = 1 and 5), scaled up from model test. The frequency step for 1 and 5jet operation is 7.14 Hz and 35.72 Hz respectively.
6
DETUNING
The goal of detuning is to avoid resonance, in other words: to prevent a coincidence of the
natural frequencies of the bucket bending vibrations (Fig. 5) with multiples (or harmonics) of the basic excitation frequency f _{1} . Resonance would increase the superimposed stress ∆σ _{B} (Fig. 7) since, due to low damping, a
high dynamic magnification factor up
to 1000 is to be expected.
A frequently asked question concerns
the added mass influence of the water. This was investigated and answered during the course of earlier measure
ments [13]. It was found that the added
mass effect, lowering the natural fre
quencies, was compensated by the stif
fening effect due to the centrifugal forces. Therefore, these effects are ne glected here. The actual dynamic system, consisting
of 26 slightly different buckets coupled
by the runner disk, is complex and dif ferent from the theoretically investiga ted system in Chapter 6. In the past, each bucket was regarded as a single degreeoffreedom system, separated from the others. Corrections of the natural frequencies, if necessary, were executed by grinding the rear of the bucket concerned. Subsequent checks, however, sometimes revealed unexpect ed deviations. The reason is that the sys tem cannot be separated as described above. It must be analysed as a multi
degreeoffreedom system (Fig. 8). Therefore, a new detuning procedure
[15] was developed, initiated and spon sored by the former Sulzer Hydro. The aim was to optimise the process of final bucket grind ing. Not only the natural frequencies should be regarded but also the final runner balancing which has to meet the quality requirements of ISO 1940/1.
Figure 8. The model for detuning is a multi degreeof freedom system
∆σ _{B} = superimposed dynamic stress part due to harmonic response
∆σ _{J} = dynamic stress part due to jets
σ _{c}
σ
σ _{m} = mean stress
= centrifugal stress
= stress amplitude
_{a}
Figure 7. Typical stress trace at a bucket root.
direction of the displacement cooridnate
The new procedure is based on the principles of experimental modal analysis. Model identi fication is carried out by measurement of the dynamic flexibility matrix H. The elements h _{i}_{k} of the matrix H contain the response of the displacement coordinate i due to a unit excitation (excitation with a unit force as amplitude) at the coordinate k with frequencies in the relevant
H =
range. In practice, the matrix H is determined by hammering on a bucket in circumferential direction and measuring the acceleration of the buckets in the direction of the displacement coordinate. The
force of the hammer is also measured by an accel
eration sensor inside the hammer.
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Fig. 9 shows the response curves derived from bucket dynamic flexibility measurement. Multiple close resonances can be recognised which are caused by coupling of the slightly different buckets. The model is identified by adapting the unknown parameters (masses and stiffnesses) in a way which minimises the differences between measured and reconstructed excitation. The difference (Fig. 9, 10) between the measured and calculated dynamic flexibilities indicates the quality of the identified model. When the model is found to reflect actual conditions sufficiently well, it can be used for predicting what happens if small mass corrections are necessary by grinding, either due to imbalance of the runner or to correct bad locations of the natural frequencies. Detuning is mainly required on runners rotating at speeds higher than about 400 rpm in turbines with 4 or more nozzles, where the bucket frequencies are relatively low (< 700 Hz).
NONDESTRUCTIVE
TESTING
Figure 9. Frequency response curves of measured and simulated flexibility of a bucket. Multiple close resonances can be recognized which are caused by coupling of the slightly different buckets.
Figure 10. The identification of the math ematical model is based on the adaption of the unknown parameters (bucket mass, stiffness) in a manner which minimizes the differences between the measured and the reconstructed excitation.
The decision limits for NDT are strictly based on actual stress levels and on admissible flaw size as determined by fracture mechanics. Quality control was carried out using UT, MT and PT, whereas RT was applied only at the first quality control stage in the foundry. Nine inspections by MT, three on each runner, were carrried out between commissioning in 1998 and the end of October 1999 without finding any inadmissible flaws or cracks.
SAFETY ASPECTS DURING OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
As typical with power stations for peak energy production, the Bieudron units operate over a wide power range and go through several startstopcycles per day. Figure 11 shows the distribution of service hours within five power ranges, averaged over all units. In the following, some points are discussed concerning the possibilities of part load opera tion and the evaluation of service hours with regard to fatigue.
8
301420 MW
201300 MW
MW
_{0}_{}_{1}_{0}_{0} 101200 _{M}_{W}
total
^{n}^{o} ^{l}^{o}^{a}^{d}
1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0
Figure 11. Typical Bieudron turbine load spectrum after the first year of operation since commissioning. Effective hours and corresponding Pmax – hours.
Modes of Part Load Operation and Consequences With smooth starting and stopping procedures, the startstopcycles of the turbines nor mally have much less influence on material fatigue than the dynamic excitation due to jet pulsation. A multijetturbine can be operated at part load in two different ways, each having different influences (Tab. 3). Although efficiency loss occurs, there are plants where all nozzles are always in operation, even at part load. However, at Bieudron an operating mode was chosen where the number of jets is strictly adapted to the actual load level. Figure 12 shows the resultant difference in stress amplitude at the bucket root.
influence parameters 
a) adapting the number of jets 
b) nonadapting the number of jets 
stress amplitude at bucket root 
higher 
lower 
inspection periods 
shorter 
longer 
life time 
shorter 
longer 
lateral shaft force > 0 
≈ 0 

bending moment of turbine shaft 
> 0 
≈ 0 
turbine bearing load 
> 0 
≈ 0 
hydraulic efficiency 
better 
lower 
relative power, P/Pmax
Table 3. Consequences of different part load operation modes:
a) adapting and b) non
adapting the number of jets.
Figure 12. Stress amplitude at the bucket
root in function of turbine power at different part load operation modes:
a) adapting – as at
Bieudron – and
b) nonadapting the
number of jets. The effective switch points deviate slightly from the schematic points shown in the diagram.
9
Evaluation of Load Spectrum and Inspection Periods Inspection periods in a plant should be defined based on possible crack propagation sce
narios using linear elastic fracture mechanics. Since they should also take into account the actual stress level, the load spectrum has to be evaluated when calculating inspection peri ods. For the evaluation shown here, the Paris equation (1) and the basic equation (2) of fracture mechanics are
relative power, P/Pmax
used, leading to the follow ing equations 3–6:
da dN C K
/
m
(1)
dN da CY a
/(
m
m
m / 2
) ( 3)
Integrating equation (3):
Figure 13. Evaluation factors for service hours at the two possible part load operation modes: a) adapting – as at Bieudron – and b) nonadapting the number of jets.
If m = 2 applies the inte grals are:
crack
N
2
N
1
N
1 /(
2
CY
2
) ln
a
2
a
1
(5)
If a _{1} and a _{2} are assumed to be set at the start and end of an inspection period, and C and Y are constants, the fol lowing equation is valid and defines the fatigue crack damage potential FCD, as suming it constant:
N
2
From
FCD const .
( 6 )
equation
(6)
and
be seen that
Figure 14. Crack propagation behaviour in constant ampli tude fatigue loading.
60% (or a small portion be low) the following evaluation factors for service hours at part load apply:
in operating mode a) the evaluation factor corresponds to 0.6. This is due to the reduced number of load cycles if 2 nozzles are closed. The stress amplitude, however, is at the maximum; in operating mode (b) the number of load cycles is not changed since all nozzles stay open, however, due to the reduced stress amplitude the evaluation factor is 0.6 ^{2} = 0.36.
Fig. 12 it can
at a service load of e.g.
The evaluation factors would be slightly different if the exponent m of the Paris equation is at m = 2.25 instead of 2, as indicated in [16] for martensitic steels. In [17] the corresponding parameter is 2.55. These deviations have been neglected at the evaluation factor definition.
10
The inspection periods have been defined ^{5} as follows:
1 ^{s}^{t} inspection 2 ^{n}^{d} inspection
3 ^{r}^{d} inspection 400 h after the 2 ^{n}^{d} inspection 4 ^{t}^{h} inspection 600 h after the 3 ^{r}^{d} inspection 5 ^{t}^{h} inspection 600 h after the 4th inspection, etc.
200 h after commissioning 400 h after the 1 ^{s}^{t} inspection
(service hours are based on operation at Pmax)
As a conclusion it can be said that the Bieudron runners have been designed on topstate of the art engineering practice, and represent a milestone in Pelton technology.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The author would like to thank all his colleagues who contributed to the development of these new tools and their successful application in the presented project.
REFERENCES
[1] 
Loth, P., „A record breaker. CleusonDixence will go on line 
”, 
Part ”Hydromechanics”, International Water 
[2] 
Power & Dam Construction, June 1998, Pages 2224. Keck, H., Schärer, Ch., Cuénod, R., Cateni, A., ”Pelton technology for new plants and modernization schemes”, 

[3] 
International journal on Hydropower & Dams, Vol. 4, Iss. 2, 1997, pages 104108. Bachmann, P., Schärer, Ch., Staubli, T., Vullioud, G., ”Experimental flow studies on one 1jet model Pelton Turbine”, 14th IAHR Symposium, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1990. 
[4] Bezinge, A., Bachmann, P., Vullioud, G., „Das Projekt Cleuson  Dixence“, ÖVE/SEV/VDE/Fachtagung
[5] 
„Wasserkraft  Regenerative Energie für heute und morgen“, Vienna, May 1992. Obretenov, V.S., „Analysis of the Flow on a Pelton Turbine Bucket“, Proc. of the Lenin Higher Inst. of Mechanical 
[6] 
and Electrical Engineering, Vol.41, Book 3, Sofia, 1987. Grozev, G., Obretenov, V., Trifonov, T., „Investigation of the Distribution of Pressure over the Buckets of a Pelton 
[7] 
Turbine“, Proc. of the Conference on Hydraulic Machinery, Turboinstitut, Ljubljana, Sept. 1988, Pages 119125. Angehrn, R., Rettich, J., Schärer, Ch., ”Pelton runner design based on measured unsteady pressure distributions 
[8] 
in the bucket”, Hydropower & Dams, Issue Six, 1999. Schneebeli, F., Baltis, E., Keck, H., ”New Technology Earns Acceptance”, Sulzer Technical Review, No. 1, 1996. 
[9] Kalberer, A., Krause, M., ”A Review of Experience with MicroCast Pelton Wheels”, Hydropower & Dams, Issue 1, 1996. [10] Krause, M., Riedel, A., ”Innovationen bei der Fertigung und Reparatur von Wasserkraftanlagen – MicroGussTM und Beschichtungen”, 9th Internat. Seminar on Hydro Power Plants, Wien, 1996. [11] Grein, H., Schneebeli, F., Bantli, H., „3Dimensional Surface Modelling  a Design and Manufacturing Tool for Hydraulic Machinery“, Sulzer Technical Review 2/1989. [12] Ostermann, H., Rückert, H., ”Ausfallsichere Bemessung von Laufrädern für Wasserkraftmaschinen aus rost freiem Stahlguss unter Berücksichtigung von Korrosion und Gefügezustand”, Abschlussbericht zum Gemeinschaftsprogramm ”Stahlguss”, BMFTIndustrieLBF, FraunhoferInstitut für Betriebsfestigkeit, Darm stadt, Sept. 1983. [13] Angehrn R., Dubas M., „Experimental Stress Analysis on a 260 MW Pelton Runner“, Proc. of the 11th IAHR Symposium, Amsterdam, 1982. [14] Grein, H., Angehrn, R., Lorenz, M., Bezinge, A., „Inspection Periods of Pelton Runners“, Proc. of the 12th IAHR Symposium, Stirling, 1984. [15] Schmied, J., ”Von der Schwingungsmessung zum Simulationsmodell”, Technische Rundschau Nr. 17, Bern, 1998. [16] Fuchs, H.O., Stephens, R.I., ”Metal Fatigue in Engineering”, Wiley & Sons, NewYork, 1980. [17] Grein, H.L., Angehrn, R., „Service Life of Pelton Runners under Corrosion Fatigue“, International Symposi um on Fluid Machinery Troubleshooting, ASME Winter Annual Meeting, Anaheim, California, Dec. 1986, FEDVol. 46/PWRVol.2.
^{5} The inspection periods definiton is coherent with the results of a crack propagation case study which was executed on a 260 MWrunner after a damage occured in 1981 [17]. As a consequence, stringent inspection periods were introduced there and it can be reported about successful experience up to now.
11
VA TECH HYDRO
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