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Journal of Hydraulic Research

ISSN: 0022-1686 (Print) 1814-2079 (Online) Journal homepage: http://iahr.tandfonline.com.tandf-


Comparative analysis of twin vortex ropes in

laboratory models of two hydro-turbine draft-

Sergey Skripkin, Mikhail Tsoy, Sergey Shtork & Kemal Hanjali

To cite this article: Sergey Skripkin, Mikhail Tsoy, Sergey Shtork & Kemal Hanjali (2016)
Comparative analysis of twin vortex ropes in laboratory models of two hydro-turbine draft-
tubes, Journal of Hydraulic Research, 54:4, 450-460, DOI: 10.1080/00221686.2016.1168325

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221686.2016.1168325

Published online: 28 Apr 2016.

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Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016), pp. 450460
2016 International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research

Research paper

Comparative analysis of twin vortex ropes in laboratory models of two

hydro-turbine draft-tubes
SERGEY SKRIPKIN , PhD student, Institute of Thermophysics SB RAS; Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
Email: Skryp91@mail.ru (author for correspondence)

MIKHAIL TSOY, PhD student, Institute of Thermophysics SB RAS; Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
Email: Miketsoy@mail.ru

SERGEY SHTORK, Leading Researcher, Institute of Thermophysics SB RAS; Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
Email: sergei_stork@mail.ru

KEMAL HANJALIC, Professor, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
Downloaded by [IAHR] at 01:15 08 July 2016

Email: khanjalic@gmail.com

We report on parallel experimental studies of twin vortex ropes in laboratory models of an elbow and a conical hydroturbine draft tube focusing
on the unstable cyclic switch-overs between the single and twin helices. The measurements involve high-speed visualization, pressure pulsation
recordings and laser-beam detecting of the precessing helices. The Fourier transform of the pressure probe signals accompanied by optical detection
provided the frequencies and amplitudes of the detected single and twin ropes, which were compared between the two draft tubes in a range of
Reynolds number from 105 to 5 105 . The experiments showed constant, though dierent, Strouhal numbers both for the single and twin ropes.
The single-rope Strouhal numbers normalized with the swirl number for the two draft tubes collapse onto a unique value of 1.1 independent of
Reynolds number. The ratio of the helix frequencies in the twin- and single rope regimes was 1.15 and 1.4, respectively, for the elbow and the conical

Keywords: Hydroturbine draft tube; precessing vortex core; swirling ows; twin vortex; vortex dynamics

1 Introduction aect the eciency of the hydro generator. If the precession

frequency happens to coincide or be close to the natural frequen-
Vortex ropes are often formed in draft tubes of hydraulic tur- cies of the water-conveyance system, the resonance may lead
bines operating in suboptimal conditions, usually at partial load to serious negative consequences such as mechanical damage,
or overload, or during the start/stop or load-change transients. reduced lifetime and ultimate equipment failure. Thus, one of
Under such conditions, the input ow in the draft tube has a high the main goals of the study of this phenomenon is to determine
residual swirl, which causes vortex breakdown (Lucca-Negro the frequency and amplitude characteristics of the PVC at var-
& ODoherty, 2001) and consequent precessing vortex core ious operational modes of the hydraulic unit. Such information
(PVC) (Syred, 2006), usually visible in water ows as a vor- should help optimize the design and identify the critical oper-
tex rope lled with cavitation or air bubbles (Alligne, Nicolet, ating range aimed at preventing or diminishing strong pressure
Tsujimoto, & Avellan, 2014). The precessing vortex rope is pulsations, avoiding resonance, and thus improving the safety
associated with strong pressure uctuations and the regime is and eciency of a hydroelectric power station.
generally known as draft-tube surge (Falvey, 1993). Interac- The draft-tube surge, PVC, and unsteadiness in hydrotur-
tions with the water-conveyance system may cause pulsations bines have long been a focus of research in uid machinery.
of the runner torque up to 20% of the nominal, and directly Numerous publications, primarily on experiments and more

Received 4 July 2015; accepted 13 March 2016/Open for discussion until 28 February 2017.

ISSN 0022-1686 print/ISSN 1814-2079 online

Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016) Analysis of twin vortex ropes in draft tube models 451

recently also on computer simulation and modelling can be and correlation between the frequencies and amplitudes for the
found in the literature (Jonsson, Mulu, & Cervantes, 2012; two modes should be of a signicant practical relevance and
Susan-Resiga, Muntean, Avellan, & Anton, 2011; Wang, Li, ought to be accounted for the hydroturbine design and operation.
Ma, Yang, & Zhu, 2012; Wu, Liu, & Dou, 2012). Most works The authors of the above-mentioned publications (Drer
focus on the regime with a single-helical vortex core, but some et al., 2014; Nishi & Liu, 2013; Skotak et al., 2001) noted the
publications deal also with the usually unstable and short-lived twin-rope phenomenon but referred only to the work of Wahl
twin rope phenomenon. One of the rst detailed studies of two (1994). Since then, the measurement and diagnostic techniques
surge modes and the twin vortex rope in draft tubes was reported have greatly advanced allowing updating and supplementing the
by Wahl (1994) experimenting with a 1:40 scale-down model of available experimental information on this phenomenon.
a 700 MW Francis turbine. Pressure pulsations in the draft tube In the present work, we have experimentally reproduced con-
were recorded by two piezoresistive sensors, arranged diametri- ditions with strong residual ow swirl in the models of two
cally opposite. Optical techniques at that time were inadequate draft tubes. In one conguration the swirl is generated by a sta-
for detailed studies of the structure and dynamics of vortex tionary vane swirler and in the other by a similar xed swirler
ropes. The main ndings were the measurements of the preces- followed by a free runner. Both types of swirl generators ensure
sion frequency, which for the single rope was 0.29 Hz, and for the swirl intensity (dened by the ratio of the bulk tangential-to-
the twin rope 0.78 Hz. axial velocity) to be constant, as the tangential (swirl) velocity
Skotak, Mikulasek, and Troubil (2001) investigated dier- is directly proportional to the ow rate and thus, to the axial
ent regimes in terms of the ow rate, inclination angle of guide velocity. The swirl generators have been designed to create the
vanes and load in a large-scale model of the turbine. These operating conditions that correspond to the unstable regime at
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authors obtained the mode with a double helix near the opti- part loads with the swirl rate above the critical so that atten-
mal load and at partial load at a high swirl rate. In the rst tion could be focused on the dynamics of a cyclic transition
case, the precession was directed opposite to the runner rotation, between single and double precessing vortex ropes. This insta-
whereas in the second case it was co-directional. Similar eects bility is particularly interesting because the characteristics of a
were reported by Nishi and Liu (2013), who studied dierent vortex rope, namely, vorticity eld, amplitude and frequency of
modes of turbine operation. In their monograph, Drer, Sick, precession, change almost instantly. This pattern of the PVC in
and Coutu (2014) acknowledged that there are regimes when draft tubes is hard to quantify and predict.
a single vortex is replaced by a twin rope, but noted that such
events are not of much a practical value a statement that could
be disputed. Namely, as shown below and reported in the litera- 2 Experimental set-up and measurement methods
ture (e.g. Wahl, 1994), the frequency and amplitude of pressure
pulsations are dierent in the single and twin rope modes. Since The experimental studies were conducted on two closed hydro-
both parameters determine whether and to what extent the pres- dynamic loops mimicking two types of hydroturbine draft tubes
sure oscillations will excite and induce vibrations of the draft (Figs 1 and 3): a conventional elbow draft tube model (EDTM),
tube and other turbine components, these issues are of much (changing from a circular to rectangular cross-section), and a
concern in real turbine operation. We also recall (for example conical draft tube model (CDTM). The two models have dif-
Alekseenko, Kuibin, & Okulov, 2007) that in a twin rope mode ferent swirl generators, but with the same design swirl number.
the intensity of each helix (dened as the circulation, i.e. the vor- The eects of the dierences in the swirl generator designs are
ticity ux through the vortex tube cross-section) is lower than discussed in Section 4. The areas in which the optical measure-
of a single rope, which reects directly on the amplitudes of the ments were performed are marked on both models by dashed
pressure pulsations. Thus, dening the conditions for each mode lines.

Figure 1 A view (left) and a sketch (right) of the elbow draft tube model (EDTM)
452 S. Skripkin et al. Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016)

Figure 2 Pressure uctuations recorded by a hydrophone in EDTM (left); and the Fourier spectrum of the signal (right); Q = 0.022 m3 s1

The rst (EDTM) experimental set-up (Fig. 1) consists of a its placement close to the draft tube throat, far from the location
simplied transparent model of draft tube with a throat diam- of the ropes maximum amplitudes.
eter D = 0.12 m. Instead of a turbine runner, a stationary vane The second (CDTM) experimental set-up (Fig. 3) simu-
swirler with xed geometrical swirl rate of Sg = 1.1 is used to lates the cone of a straight draft tube with a throat diameter
generate swirling motion in the draft tube. This swirl generator D = 0.1 m. It consists of a swirl generator followed by a straight
with xed blades allows to control the swirl intensity, but it can- vertical diuser. The main task of the swirler is to reproduce the
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not reproduce the total pressure imbalance from hub to shroud conditions for the formation of the ow similar to the one under
(namely, a decit of the total pressure near the hub), as in the the turbine runner.
real hydraulic turbines operated at part load. The above swirl This is achieved by forming the appropriate proles of
number is (for convenience and easier comparison) dened by a the axial and tangential velocity components under the swirl
simple expression based on the swirler geometry (Gupta, Lilley, generator, which correspond reasonably well to the situation
& Syred, 1984): in a real hydroturbine. The CDTM set-up mimics the swirl
  generator developed at Politehnical University of Timisoara
2 1 (d1 /d2 )3 (Susan-Resiga, Muntean, Tanasa, & Bosioc, 2008), which uses
Sg = tan() (1)
3 1 (d1 /d2 )2 a runner at runaway speed to generate the total pressure imbal-
ance from hub to shroud. The swirl generator consists of two
where d1 and d2 are the swirler internal and external diameters, swirlers, the rst with xed vanes followed by the second
and is the vane inclination angle. which is a freely rotating runner, with a design swirl number
This conguration allows simulation of the mode with high Sg = 1.1. This combination of swirlers provides the distribu-
residual ow swirl. The experimental set-up is equipped with an tion of the axial and tangential velocity component closest to
ultrasonic ow meter, which in the aggregate with a frequency the distribution under the runners of real turbines.
converter that controls the pump operation, allows setting the
ow rates (Q) up to 0.028 m3 s1 with an accuracy better than
1%. Pressure pulsations on the wall of the draft-tube cone
were recorded by a mounted piezo-electric pressure transducer
(hydrophone), and its signal was digitalized by an analogue
digital convertor. A typical recording is shown in Fig. 2 (left).
The duration of the measurement for each value of the ow rate
considered was 60 s at a sampling frequency of 1 kHz. The sig-
nal spectrum was computed using an FFT algorithm and from
its analysis the peak corresponding to the frequency of rope
precession was determined. It should be pointed out that the
recording of pressure by hydrophones provided a signal useful
for the analysis of the frequency characteristics (the focus of
the present work), but not suciently accurate nor sensitive to
provide trustful quantitative pressure measurements, especially
for the short-lived low-intensity twin-rope regime. The pressure
signal appeared contaminated by the pulsations originating from
the elements of the experimental rig and turbulence uctuations. Figure 3 A view (left) and a sketch (right) of the conical draft tube
Moreover, the response of the hydrophone was also impaired by model (CDTM)
Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016) Analysis of twin vortex ropes in draft tube models 453

amount of air bubbles injected into the ow, and concentrated

in the area of low pressure. As shown in Skripkin, Kuibin, and
Shtork (2015), air injection of the volumetric rate less than 0.5%
of the total ow rate does not aect the characteristics of the
PVC. In CDTM, the vortex rope was visualized by the cavitation
bubbles. Below are some images obtained by splitting the video
fragments of high-speed shooting (Figs 5 and 6).
The structure of the vortex rope is very unstable; it changes
periodically between one or two intertwined helical vortices.
The direction of precession of both the single and double vor-
tices coincides with the direction of the swirl, while the vortices
are left-handed (Alekseenko et al., 2007; Alekseenko, Kuibin,
Okulov, & Shtork, 1999). Almost over the whole range of the
ow rates where it was possible to register the transition of
a single into a double vortex, the mode of the single-helical
rope prevails, whereas the mode of the double-helical rope
Figure 4 A snapshot of rope visualized by release of some dis- is less stable. A similar change of conguration during the
solved air from water in CDTM at Q = 0.024 m3 s1 , R = 4 105 , periodic change between the single- and double-rope modes
Sg = 1.1, and a record of the photodetector signal and its FFT indicat- was also reported by numerical simulation of swirl ow using
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ing the precession frequency a Reynolds-stress turbulence closure model (Stefan, Rudolf,
Muntean, & Susan-Resiga, 2013).
Adjustable centrifugal pump 3LMH 80-160/18.5 from Ebara
A series of snapshots in Figs 5 and 6 illustrates the vortex
Corp. (Japan) with a maximum ow rate of up to 0.067 m3 s1
convolutions at dierent phase angles of a single cycle for which
was used as a feed pump. The ow rate is controlled by a feed-
the transition from a single-helical to double-helical vortex con-
back system that includes an electromagnetic ow meter and a
guration and back occurs. The rope patterns in both types of
frequency inverter. For simulating the cavitation regime in the
the draft tube look very similar. It should be noted that the time
test section, the hydrodynamic loop is equipped with a vacuum
step between the frames shown in Figs 5 and 6 is not equal. The
pump that creates additional evacuation up to 96 kPa. To reduce
frames shown were selected among many to display best the
optical distortion, the outer walls of the CDTM test section were
various characteristic stages of the transition.
made in the shape of a tetrahedral prism (Fig. 3). The precession
The ropes in the CDTM are visualized by natural cavitation
of the vortex rope was detected and analysed using a nonintru-
in the low-pressure area. Because the swirl parameters in both
sive optical system to avoid reducing the transparency of the test
test rigs remain constant and independent of the ow rate, single
section. The system operation is based on registering the laser
vortex rope always transits to a double rope at all investigated
beam by a photodetector, interrupted by the rope once for each
R numbers. Admittedly, in the EDTM, the twin rope appears
period of precession (Fig. 4). Thus, the point of the laser beam
to be short lived compared to CDTM, and it is more clearly
intersection by the vortex corresponds to the lower level of the
visualized at low ow rates.
photodetector signal. The resulting signal was processed by fast
The sketch in Fig. 7 illustrates a complete transition cycle
Fourier transform, which allowed the frequency of the vortex
from a single-helical to a double-helical mode and back. This
precession to be determined.
scenario was elaborated based on a frame-by-frame analysis of
the performed high-speed visualization in the test sections of
3 High-speed visualization of the dynamics of the two draft tubes. At a certain point in time (Fig. 7b) the
single-to-double rope transition vortex rope starts to become somewhat thinner, and in the oppo-
site phase to the just initiated second vortex with yet unformed
The complexity of the swirling and vortical patterns as well geometry, but already separated from the original one. After sev-
as a high level of turbulence in a typical draft tube makes the eral periods of rotation both ropes acquire a clear helical form
visual analysis of the process dicult. For a detailed study and virtually the same pattern and shape (Fig. 7c), which makes
of the swirling ow structure we used a high-speed camera it impossible to identify the original vortex. Both ropes rotate
pco.1200 hs from PCO AG (Germany) that allowed images to be with the same angular velocity.
registered with a frequency of up to 600 frames per second and a The above twin-rope pattern does not remain for long and
resolution of 1280 1024 pixels. This equipment allowed visu- it is aected by ow instability which distorts the smooth heli-
alization of the vortex rope with its phase resolution of up to 5 cal form of the vortices, breaking its symmetry, Fig. 7d. As a
per frame. result, one of the vortex ropes gains in its strength and tends to
In the EDTM, the ow visualization was performed using a stabilize again into a more regular and smoother helical pattern
powerful source of light, refracted from the surfaces of a small with a longer spatial period, while the second rope weakens,
454 S. Skripkin et al. Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016)

0.000 s

Figure 5 Visualization of the transition between single- and double vortex rope in EDTM at Qwater = 0.011 m3 s1 , Qair = 3.3 105 m3 s1 ,
R = 1.4 105 , Sg = 1.1). The ropes are visualized by air bubbles concentrated in the low-pressure area. The snapshots are taken at various phase
angles over one cycle to display the main base structures
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Figure 6 Visualization of the transition between single- and double-cavitation vortex rope in CDTM (Qwater = 0.032 m3 s1 , depression
P d = 40 kPa, R = 5 105 , Sg = 1.1)

becomes thinner but also smoother and with a shorter period, et al. (2007), which describes the results of numerical simula-
Fig. 7e. The angular velocities of both vortices begin to change, tions of the behaviour of vortex ropes with the same circulations
and the opposite-phased conguration of the vortices deforms at dierent locations relative to each other. The vortices begin
and eventually gets broken. The vortices approach each other clinging onto each other at some critical distance between them
and merge into a single vortex rope with the original shape, and then merge.
amplitude and period. An example of the theory of interaction of A comparison of snapshots at dierent phase angles shows
a pair of vortices is available in the monograph of Alekseenko that the periods of the single and twin-vortex ropes are dierent.
Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016) Analysis of twin vortex ropes in draft tube models 455

(a) (b) (c)

(d) (e) (f)

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Figure 7 A schematics of the characteristic sequential phases in the transition cycle from single-to-double and back to a single vortex rope. Similar
behaviour is typical for all investigated ow rates

This is illustrated in Fig. 7a and c which show that the spa-

tial wavelength of the twin rope, Lt , is shorter than that of the
single rope Ls. However, the dierence between the two is not
the same for the two draft tubes: the present experiments show
that (Lt /Ls )EDT = 0.87 and (Lt /Ls )CDT = 0.72. We return to the
discussion of this issue in Section 4.
The snapshots further indicate that the rope amplitudes, i.e.
the maximum displacements from the geometrical centreline,
are, however, very similar. These amplitudes are not directly
related to the amplitudes of the pressure pulsations which seem
to dier substantially for the single and twin ropes. As men-
tioned above, our pressure measurements by hydrophone, while
detecting a clear periodic pressure signal during the single-rope
mode, was unable to detect periodic pulsation during the short
existence of the twin-rope mode due to low intensity of the dou-
ble helices and contaminations by other pulsations originating
from the rig elements. We conjecture, however, that the inten- Figure 8 The signal detected by a photodiode in CDTM
sity (vorticity ux) of the rope will remain conserved within the
short transition period, so that in the twin-rope mode the vortic-
ity ux is distributed among the two helices with the intensity crossed the path of the beam, and the photodiode registered only
of each being lower than that of a single rope, as also reported the level of the ambient lighting. The recorded data are pre-
by Wahl (1994). sented in three dierent time scales, with subsequent blow-ups
Using the optical system (Fig. 4) on CDTM, we investigated of the abscissa (Figs 810).
the frequency of the conguration switchover from the single- Figure 8 shows the photodiode signal, recorded on CDTM
rope to double-rope mode. The laser beam was directed through over 6 s at a constant ow rate of 0.033 m3 s1 and with addi-
the diuser axis, while in the double-rope mode both ropes tional evacuation on the loop of 60 kPa. The high signal level
simultaneously crossed the path of the beam twice during one of 0.05 V corresponds to the double-rope mode, and the low
period of precession. In the single-rope mode, the rope always level of 0.015 V corresponds to the single-rope mode. The
456 S. Skripkin et al. Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016)

same frequency of pressure pulsations should be registered by a

pressure sensor, installed in the diuser.

4 Strouhal number scaling of single and double ropes in

two draft-tube models

Visual observation of the switching of vortex modes from single

to double helical ropes and reverse in the laboratory models of
two hydro turbine draft tubes showed a remarkable similarity
of the patterns and their sequence during one transition cycle
despite large dierences in the geometry of the two models. It is
noted that in both cases the swirl was above the critical and the
dynamic switch from one to another mode occurred at all ow
rates in the range where this instability occurs, which depends
on the system conguration.
Figure 9 A zoomed-up horizontal scale for the initial portion of the In order to quantify this similarity, we consider the Strouhal
signal shown in Fig. 8
number, St = f De /V, as the fundamental criterion of similar-
ity of oscillatory ow phenomena, and its dependence on the
Reynolds number, R = VDe /, for the two cases of draft tubes,
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where V stands for the characteristic velocity, De is the charac-

teristic (equivalent) diameter, f is the frequency of precession
and is the uid kinematic viscosity. Because of the dierence
in the geometry of the two draft tubes, dening the appropri-
ate and comparable characteristic parameters V and De in the
St and R numbers for both congurations is not unambiguous
and may inuence the comparison. This is seen by expressing
St and R in terms of a (constant) volume ow Q = VA (where A
is the cross-sectional area corresponding to the bulk velocity V),
St = f De A/Q, R = QDe /(A). Depending on the denition of
De , St and R may dier much for dierent draft tube geome-
tries. Adopting as the reference the inlet to the draft-tube cone
(the throat) (and assuming that the runner/swirler hub tail does
not penetrate into the cone so that the inlet has a circular (not
annular) cross-section) De is then the diameter D of the draft-
Figure 10 A further zoom-up of the horizontal scale for the signal in tube throat and V the corresponding average velocity. It follows
Figs 8 and 9 then that St D3 and R 1/D. It is obvious that for another
characteristic cross-section these relations could be dierent and
perhaps not directly comparable for two hydroturbine models
frequency of the pattern transition from single- to double-rope of dierent types. In the present work we adopted the above-
modes was 3.5 Hz, compared with the typical precession fre- dened throat cross-section as the reference and compare the St
quencies of 37 Hz for the single rope and 54 Hz for the twin dependence on R for the single and twin ropes in the two draft-
rope. Figure 9 shows a part of the signal at an enlarged time tube models considered. Furthermore, as it is known (Litvinov,
scale for the rst 2 s. The duration of the double-rope mode is Shtork, Kuibin, Alekseenko, & Hanjalic, 2013) that the Strouhal
26% of the period of the conguration switchover, the single- number depends linearly on the ow swirl rate, it is common
rope mode takes 74%, and their ratio is Ttwin /Tsingle = 0.35. to plot the ratio St/S instead of St to eliminate a parametric
Thus, the single-rope mode dominates, and the double-rope eect of the swirl number, thus allowing one to generalize the
mode is less stable. The stability of the double-rope mode pre- results and to compare them for dierent swirl rates, but also
sumably depends on the swirl intensity, ow rate, and additional for dierent congurations. Following this conjecture, we made
evacuation. an attempt to nd a common scaling of the St/S ratio for both
A further blow-up of the signal time scale (Fig. 10) reveals draft tubes. A practical diculty appeared, however, in choos-
that the laser beam in the double-rope mode is periodically ing the proper denition of the swirl number. While its physical
interrupted by crossed ropes. The frequency of these inter- denition as the ratio of the axial ux components of angular
ruptions corresponds to a double frequency of precession; the and axial momentum (Alekseenko et al., 2007; Gupta et al.,
Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016) Analysis of twin vortex ropes in draft tube models 457

1984) is clear and precise, a variety of formulae have been used Table 1 Denitions of swirl numbers considered. Note that
in the literature, diering in subtle approximations and the sim- equation numbers are shown in the left column
plications adopted. Moreover, since the swirl parameter (just Swirl number
as the Strouhal number) may change along the ows and can
be dierent in dierent cross sections and when using dier- Eq. no. Denition EDTM CDTM
ent reference variables, bringing the expressions to the common R
UWr2 dr
(3) S= R 0
1.47 0.67
denominator for dierent geometrical congurations (as in the R 0 [((U2 +(W2 Wmax 2 )/2]rdr
present case) can be ambiguous because it is dependent on the 0 |U|Wr dr
(4) S= R 1.5 0.68
choice of the reference planes and variables. A case in point R 0 [((U2 +(W2 Wmax 2 )/2]rdr
is the geometric swirl number derived on several assumptions, UWr2 dr
(5) S = 0 R 2 0.83 0.62
R 0 U rdr
which was found useful when considering one geometry at dif-
ferent swirling conditions, but can be misleading when applied (6) S= Umax 0.91 0.83
and compared in two or more dierent congurations. (1) Sg = 2 1(d1 /d2 )3
tan() 1.1 1.1
3 1(d1 /d2 )2
We considered in parallel several common denitions of
the swirl number and compared the values for the two draft
tube models with, as stated above, the adopted common con-
reversal occurs in the centre of the duct at small radii, the contri-
ditions (the diameter and velocity) at the cone inlet (throat)
bution of this term to the integral is small and the total eect is
cross-sections. Since most expressions require integration of the
marginal as conrmed by the swirl number values very close to
velocity over the cross-sectional area, we performed a series of
the original ones. In Eq. (5) (Table 1), the pressure is neglected,
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measurements of the axial and tangential velocity proles in

whereas the most simple, but frequently used formula, Eq. (6)
a plane just after the throat using a laser-Doppler anemometer
(Table 1) goes even further by assuming uniform distribution
of both velocity components. Table 1 shows a signicant varia-
The most complete denition of the swirl number includes,
tion in swirl numbers calculated by dierent formulae, but in all
next to the mean momentum components, also the eects of
cases the swirl in the EDTM is stronger than in the CDTM, each
pressure distribution and of the averages of the uctuating
dictated by its own swirler. Irrespective of these dierences, the
momentum components (in terms of turbulent stresses) (Gupta
rope patterns both for the single and twin rope look remarkably
et al., 1984):
R In an attempt to scale the two draft tube dynamic charac-
(UWr2 + u w )dr teristics and to nd a common denominator, we plotted the
S= R
R [(U2 + u 2 + (P P )]rdr detected St/S ratio versus Reynolds number for the two cong-
urations, using dierent swirl number denitions from Table 1.
where U and W stand for the local mean axial and tangen- It turned out that using the most common denition of Eq. (5)
tial velocity components respectively, is uid density, R is
the radius of the cross sectional area, u 2 is the square of the
streamwise velocity uctuations, u w is the primary Reynolds
stress, P stands for the local static pressure and P denotes the
reference pressure.
However, because of diculties in measuring all terms in
the equations with sucient accuracy, various simplications
are usually applied. A list of common (not necessarily com-
plete) denitions, simplied in one way or another, is provided
in Table 1. All formulae stem from the basic denition, Eq. (2),
and are listed here in a sequence that illustrates a progressive
degree of approximation.
It is noted that in Eq. (3) (Table 1), the contribution of the
static pressure from Eq. (2) is replaced by the corresponding
component of the dynamic pressure. This modication (origi-
nating in the assumption that the Bernoulli equation holds well Figure 11 The Strouhal-to-swirl number ratio obtained for the sin-
gle and twin ropes in the two draft-tube models over a range of
for the averaged tangential velocity across the section) was
Reynolds numbers considered. The measurement uncertainty is indi-
found to have a substantial inuence if the maximum tangen- cated on the rst (the lowest R) symbol for all four cases; S is dened
tial velocity is not located near the wall. In Eq. (4) (Table 1), the using denition of Eq. (5) (Table 1). For clarity, the frequencies of
axial velocity in the numerator is replaced by its absolute value, the twin ropes refer to a single helix, thus are half of those sensed by
thus neglecting the eect of back ow. However, because ow hydrophones or laser-beam
458 S. Skripkin et al. Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016)

(Table 1) brought all measurement points for the single rope as a modication of an original double helix structure, with one
over the range of the R numbers considered to the same value of of the vortices dominating, to a double vortex mode with equally
about 1.1, Fig. 11. As expected, no eect of R number has been distributed vortex intensities. Needless to say that clarication
detected conrming the full Reynolds-number similarity. It is of this issue as well as other here-detected features calls for more
worth noting that the simple and very practical expression (Eq. research, which goes beyond the scope of the present study.
(6); Table 1) brings the values of St/S for the two draft tube
models also relatively close to each other (about 1.0 for ETDT
and 0.82 for CDTM), though not so well as Eq. (5) (Table 1), 5 Conclusion
but much closer than the other formulae.
On the other hand, no common scaling could be found for Unstable cyclic transition between single and twin vortex ropes
the twin ropes. To clarify the origin of the dierences we return have been studied experimentally in the laboratory models of
briey to Fig. 7, where it has already been indicated that in both an elbow and a conical hydroturbine draft tubes (EDTM and
draft-tube models the spatial wavelength of the twin ropes is CDTM) at the above-critical swirl rates mimicking unstable
shorter than that of the single rope for the same ow rate (and R part-load turbine regimes. High-speed video imaging, pres-
number), Fig. 7a and c, as also seen in the images in Figs 5 and 6. sure recordings and laser-beam-interruption frequency detection
The ratio of the spatial wavelengths for the twin and single reveal similar helix patterns and the dynamic features over a
ropes, Lt /Ls , was found to be 0.87 for the EDTM and 0.72 for range of Reynolds numbers. Despite dierences in the swirl
the CDTM. For a constant convective (axial) velocity, the spatial generators and the draft-tube geometries, the measured Strouhal
wavelength is directly proportional to the time period, which is numbers showed constant though dierent values both for the
reciprocal to the frequency ratio, namely t /s = Lt /Ls = fs /ft .
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single and twin ropes over the range of Reynolds numbers for
Thus, (ft /fs )EDT 1.15 and (ft /fs )CDT 1.4, from which it fol- which the ropes were detected. When normalized with the com-
lows that (St/S)EDT t 1.27 and (St/S)CDTt 1.55, both well mon swirl number (dened by the ratio of the integrated mean
in accord with the values measured by hydrophones and laser- axial components of the angular and axial momentum), the
beam interruption1 shown in Fig. 11. Wahl (1994) reported single-rope Strouhal numbers normalized with the swirl num-
(ft /fs ) 1.35 in his experiments on the 1:40 scale turbine model ber for the two draft-tube types showed a unique value of 1.1
in a wide range of conditions. This ratio is close to the results independent of the Reynolds number. However, the normalized
found in our experiments. St numbers of the twin ropes show dierent values for the two
Two questions arise: rst, why the spatial period of the sin- congurations: the ratio of the (single helix) frequencies in the
gle rope in the EDTM is shorter than that one in the CDTM twin- and single-rope modes in EDTM is 1.15 compared to 1.4
and, second, why the dierence between the twin and sin- in CDTM, the actual frequencies of pressure pulsations being
gle rope in the EDTM is smaller (1/1.15 = 0.87) than in the double (two ropes). The twin helix in EDTM was more unsta-
CDTM (1/1.4 = 0.72). Without going deeper into the theory ble, short lived and less easy to detect at higher ow rates.
(e.g. Fanelli, 1989; Guarga & Cataldo, 1993, which inevitably Moreover, both the single and twin ropes in EDTM appeared to
has its limitation when it comes to its application to the mod- have somewhat shorter wavelengths than in CDTM. The shorter
els mimicking real draft tube geometries), we conjecture that in wavelength and a smaller ratio of the twin-to-single rope fre-
contrast to a straight long draft tube in the CDTM where the quencies in EDTM are attributed to the back-eect of the elbow
precessing ropes develop freely, the elbow in the EDTM acts curvature the pressure build up on the concave wall breaking
as an obstacle, bending the ow and causing asymmetric ow the ow symmetry and suppressing the ropes axial convection
deceleration, but also imposes some blocking to the rope expan- and expansion. It is also recalled that the length of the draft
sion in the ow direction. This results in a shorter single rope tube exerts an inuence since the helix wavelength will adjust to
but also in a smaller dierence between the periods of the single match the elbow length and eigen frequency. The higher insta-
and twin ropes, compared with CDTM.2 bility and a shorter life of the twin rope in the EDTM is also
Regarding the mechanism of switching between the sin- believed to be related to the elbow curvature which acts as an
gle and double ropes, we refer to some earlier ndings additional source of instability. This phenomenon was observed
based on phase-averaging (Cala, Fernandes, Heitor, & Shtork, in two test rigs with dierent draft tubes and swirl generators.
2006; Shtork, Cala, Fernandes, & Heitor, 2005) and a proper- Moreover, this phenomenon also was found by Wahl (1994) on
orthogonal-decomposition analyses (Markovich, Abdurakipov, the 1:40 turbine scale model. Thus, it can be concluded that sim-
Chikishev, Dulin, & Hanjalic, 2014). These authors reported ilar phenomenon may indeed occur in real turbines during the
that the vortex breakdown zone, even in the case of formation operation in part load regimes.
of a single spiral vortex core, actually consists of a pair of co- The phenomenon discussed calls for further and more
rotating co-winding spiral vortices a primary vortex, which is detailed research, which is currently in progress focusing on
normally detected by the visualization technique and pressure the vorticity distribution and its dynamics during the transi-
sensors, and a secondary weaker vortex structure. This suggests tion, which could be useful for checking and possibly revis-
a possible scenario for the formation of a twin helical structure, ing the analytical theory of vortex dynamics in elements of
Journal of Hydraulic Research Vol. 54, No. 4 (2016) Analysis of twin vortex ropes in draft tube models 459

hydroturbines. However, the results presented could already be v = uid kinematic viscosity (m2 s1 )
useful for estimating the precessing frequencies in real hydro- = water density (kg m3 )
turbine draft tubes from data obtained in laboratory models of = time period of twin rope (s)
not-necessarily identical geometrical conguration. Of course, s = time period of single rope (s)
transition from one mode to another is sensitive to the cong- u 2 , u w = turbulent stresses (kg m1 s2 )
uration geometry and also to other factors such as additional = guide vane inclination angle ()
evacuation and air injection.

Sergey Skripkin http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5232-7628
This work was funded by the Russian Science Foundation [grant
number 14-29-00203].

Notes Alekseenko, S. V., Kuibin, P. A., & Okulov, V. L. (2007). Theory

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1. The above analysis applies to single ropes in the twin rope modes, Verlag.
so that the eective frequencies of the pressure pulsation (felt
by pressure transducers) are actually doubled, ft /fs 2.3 and 2.8
Alekseenko, S. V., Kuibin, P. A., Okulov, V. L., & Shtork, S.
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