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Simulated Calculation of Interblade Vortex in Francis

Turbine's Whole Flow Passage


Xihua University
Wenwu Song Chengdu, China
School of Energy and Environment 191758344@qq.com
Xihua University
Chengdu, China
wenwus@163.com Jinjun Li
School of Energy and Environment
Xihua University
Huiyan Wang Chengdu, China
School of Energy and Environment

AbstractA three-dimensional model for Francis turbine's whole structures and endanger the safety running of the hydropower
flow passage is established in this paper. Simulated calculations station.
of fixed guide vanes, guide vanes, runner and internal flow field
of a draft tube are conducted. Velocity vector distribution and If the Francis turbine is running under high head and large
static pressure distribution of volute, guide vanes, runner and in load or large variation amplitude of running head [3], resonance
the draft tube of the Francis turbine under three operating will be generated. Domestic and foreign experts thought that
conditions (design operating conditions, maximum flow this vibration is caused by a medium frequency excitation
conditions, minimum flow conditions) are obtained. Meanwhile, source behind the guide vane and before the runner. However,
the interblade vortexes in fixed guide vanes, guide vanes and
it is still difficult to explain with full theory.
between runner blades of the turbine are compared and analyzed
in detail on different operating conditions and at different The problems of cavitation, vibration, cracking, etc. will be
moments of the same cycle. Therefore, the interblade vortexes in inevitable if the variation amplitude of head is too large, the
the guide vanes and runner, and the pressure pulsation in the design head and rated head are low, the adjustment scope of
draft tube, as well as its law, especially the inter-relationship
between flow separation vortex and its pulsation frequency at the
running load is not restricted by safety, and the manufacturing
outlet side of the blade under different operating conditions are quality of the turbine is poor. Among many factors which
found out. This is of great guiding significance in improving the cause the hydraulic vibration of the hydroelectric generating set,
operational stability of the turbine. the vortex motion in the guide vane and runner flow passage,
and the pressure pulsation caused by the cyclical movement of
Keywords-interblade vortex; Francis turbine; operational cavitation vortex strip in the draft tube are the main sources.
stability
With a Francis turbine as the example, three-dimensional
turbulent flow simulation of the flow fields of volute, guide
I. INTRODUCTION vanes, interior of the runner and draft tube are calculated and
In recent years, most domestic and foreign large- and studied. Therefore, the interblade vortexes in the guide vanes
medium-sized turbine sets are found out to have the problems and runner, and the pressure pulsation in the draft tube, as well
of vibration and blade cracking, and the problems of blade as its law, especially the inter-relationship between flow
cracking and stability even occur during the test run period or separation vortex and its pulsation frequency at the outlet side
the early running period. For example, in Dachaoshan of the blade under different operating conditions are found out.
Hydropower Station [1], its runner was cracked during the 72h
test run period; in Xiaolangdi Hydropower Station, its spindle II. THEORETICAL ANALYSIS
was vibrating severely with abnormal noise during the early
running period of the first production unit, and after running for At present, the study of pressure pulsation and hydraulic
1330h, it was found out that all 13 blades had cracks, and other vibration caused by unstable flow in guide vanes and runner is
problems, so it was forced to shut down for repair or mainly aimed at the vibration excited by Karman Vortex Street
improvement. In particular, if the Francis turbine is running behind the guide vane. The frequency of Karman Vortex Street
away from the design condition, serious flow separation is only calculated by the empirical formula to see if it is close
cavitation and vortex strip will be generated, which will lead to to the inherent frequency of the unit components. In addition,
vibration and possible fatigue damage [2]. Most domestic and flow separation vortex can also excite hydraulic vibration, and
foreign large-sized Francis turbines have different degrees of this kind of vibration has appeared in China for many times,
vibrations or the problems of runner blade cracking, draft tube and similar situations have also appeared in foreign countries.
wall tearing, hydraulic self-excited vibration, etc. Some even The main source of vibration of four Francis turbines and two
cause the resonance of the powerhouse and adjacent hydraulic Kaplan turbines listed by Karman from Sweden is the vortex
street vibration excited by flow separation vortex at the outlet

This project was funded by Major Training Project of Sichuan Provincial Department of Education (No.09ZZ031) and the Research Fund of Key
Laboratory of Fluid Machinery of Xihua University

978-1-61284-459-6/11/$26.00 2011 IEEE


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side of the guide vane and runner blade [4]. However, some opening is not changing, and thus the incidence of the flow at
experiments show that there is no flow separation in the guide the inlet of the runner will be increased, and flow separation
vane and runner area during vibration and the frequency is very will be generated at the suction side of the blade and thus form
different from the frequency of Karman vortex. At this time, vortex. In theory, the intensity of the interblade vortex is
the vibration source is neither the Karman Vortex Street nor the proportional to the incidence of the flow at the inlet of the
flow separation vortex. Some people think that this is related to runner, the size and stability of secondary flow, and the path of
the inter-relationship between the guide vane outlet trail with vortex in the runner. Therefore, the larger the dimension of the
uneven distribution of flow velocity and runners. runner is, the greater of pressure pulsation caused by interblade
vortex in the runner will be [7].
The research of Karman vortex was mainly focused on
improving the accuracy of Karman vortexs frequency. The The top boundary of the interblade vortex is over flow
frequency of Karman vortex was calculated by the basic surface at the crown, and the bottom is the draft tube. Although
formula of f = S t W / D (where, S t is the Strouhal number, there is secondary flow in the interblade vortex, the secondary
flow shows different characteristics in different hydraulic
W is the relative flow velocity, and D is the flow around designs. If the secondary flow in the blade channel is stable, the
diameter). However, this formula was obtained in general interblade vortex will be in steady state, the pressure pulsation
water tunnel or water trough with stable velocity field and is relatively small, and it will not lead to harmful vibration. On
pressure field, that is, under stable adverse pressure gradient. In the contrary, if the secondary flow is disordered, the interblade
water turbine, the pressure behind fixed guide vanes or before vortex will be turbulent and unstable [8]. The cavitation of
guide vanes is changing with the head and the opening, and the vortex core becomes intense due to the disturbance of the
adverse pressure gradient at the tail of the fixed guide vanes is secondary flow. The appearing and disappearing of interblade
also changing correspondingly. As a result, the position of the vortex will lead to serious pressure pulsation and irregular
flow separation point and the corresponding flow velocity are hydraulic impact. The secondary flow vortexes in the blade
changing. That is to say, the W and D in the calculation channel caused by various reasons are shown in Fig.1.
formula of Karman vortexs frequency should not and will not
be constant.
Rear end plate
Turning direction
At present, the development of numerical simulation Blade
technology of flow field [5] provides the possibility for the study
of pulsation mechanism of vortex strip in the draft tube. The Front end plate Tip clearance flow
numerical simulation technology allows us to fully understand Secondary flow induced
the configuration of vortex strip in the draft tube, the flow field by Coriolis force
in the flow passage, and its relationship with the running Secondary flow induced by the
conditions and geometric parameters. We can more accurately bending of axial-surface streamline
calculate and predict the frequency and amplitude of the Secondary flow induced by
pressure pulsation caused by vortex strip in the draft tube [6]. centrifugal force
This is very significant in predicating the hydraulic design and
overall performance of the water turbine.
Axis of rotation
While designing the Francis turbine, it should be
guaranteed that the water flow does not impact on the blade Figure 1. Secondary flow vortex in blade channel
head at the entrance of the runner, and it should be positive
incidence, while the direction of water flow at the outlet of the
runner should be normal with positive circulation. If the water
flow incidence at the inlet of the runner is too large, the head of
blade will fall off and cavitate, form interblade vortex, and
further lead to high frequency or medium frequency water
pressure pulsation. During flow separation and cavitation,
negative pressure will form on the blade, and a vacuum cavity
will form between the water flow and the surface of the blade. Figure 2. Relative velocity of fluid particles in the blade channel and
If the flow separation is serious, this vacuum negative pressure derivation of Euler equation
effect will tear and strip the metal surface crystal of the blade,
and even cause cavitation damage. Meanwhile, if the water If assuming that the blade is infinitely thin, the direction of
circulation at the outlet of the blade is too large, strong vortex relative velocity of fluid particles will be tangent to the blade,
strip will be formed in the draft tube, which will lead to low and the angle between the relative velocity and the
frequency pressure pulsation.
peripheral speed will be equal to the blade angle e , and the
The interblade vortex is formed due to flow separation relative moving track of fluid particles will be the same as the
caused by the impact of blade by water flow at the inlet of shape of the blade. For actual runner with limited number of
Francis turbine, and the secondary flow in the runner. While blades, the relative motion of fluid can be decomposed into two
the Francis turbine is running from optimum head to high head, motions: one is the motion of fluid flowing through non-
the increasing of head will inevitably cause the increasing of rotating runner, and the other is the motion of fluid flowing
flow velocity at the outlet of the blade if the guide vane

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through rotating runner. Due to the rotation of the runner, Gk = i S 2 (6)
under the effect of inertia, relative to the runner, the fluid has a
vortex in the opposite rotating direction with the same angular
velocity. This kind of vortex is axial vortex. The vector sum of 1 u u
Where, S = 2 Sij Sij and Sij = i + j
both motion velocities is the relative velocity of fluid particles
in runner with limited number of blades. Regardless of the
2 x j xi
mass effect, the Euler equation for ideal fluid at a point at the
The HLA696-LJ-108 water turbine of a Francis
outlet side of the runner blade, as shown in Fig.2, is
hydropower station was taken as the example, its basic
dv 1 p parameters are:
=
dt n (1) Design head: Hp = 220m; Height of guide vane: b0 =
285mm; Rotation speed: n = 1000rpm; Design flow rate: Qp =
The direction of vector n is along the direction of 13.15m3/s; Diameter of guide vane circle: D0 = 1390mm;
equipotential line, that is, the direction of the outlet side of the Nominal diameter of runner: D1 = 1080mm; Number of fixed
blade. Its acceleration dv / dt is the sum of axial surface guide vanes: Z2 = 9; Number of runner blades: Z=13; and
acceleration v m2 / R ( R is the curvature radius of streamline Number of guide vanes: Z1 = 16.
2
on the axial surface) and radial acceleration v n / r ( r is the A. Establishment of Flow Passage Components and
distance from the point to the axial line). Through Geometric Model of Whole Flow Passage and Mesh
decomposing the acceleration into the direction of n , the Euler Division
equation will be: The geometric models of volute, fixed guide vanes, guide
vanes, runner blades, runner, draft tube, and other flow
vm2 vn2 sin 1 p passage components are established, and the meshes are
=
R r n (2)
divided. The meshes and geometric models of volute, runner,
and whole flow passage are shown in Fig.3.
Where, is the angle between the equipotential line
(outlet side) and the radius.
By using fluid analysis software, the vortexes in the internal
flow field, between fixed guide vanes and guide vanes,
between guide vanes and runner blades, and in draft tube of the
whole flow field of a Francis turbine at the same moment of a
same cycle under different operating conditions are solved and
calculated.
Figure 3. Geometric models of volute and runner, and whole flow
III. NUMERICAL SIMULATION CALCULATION OF passage mesh diagram
INTERBLADE VORTEX
Standard k two-equation model is adopted in this B. Determination of Calculation Operation Condition
paper. For HLA696-LJ-108 water turbine, the whole flow field
of volute, fixed guide vanes, guide vanes, runner and draft
D l k tube, as well as the situation of the interblade vortexes are
= + + G (3) only calculated in the minimum flow conditions, design
Dt xi k xi operating conditions and maximum flow conditions. The
parameters of the operating points are listed in Tab.1.
D l 2
= + + c1 G c 2 (4)
Dt x i x i k k TABLE I. ARAMETERS OF THE OPERATING POINTS
Operating point Minimum Design Maximum flow
flow operating
Where, l = C
k 2 is the viscosity coefficient of conditions conditions conditions

A (m3/s) B (m3/s) C (m3/s)


Model
turbulent vortex; Gk is the stress generated item (or source HLA696-LJ-108 10.553 13.15 15.224
item) caused by velocity gradient: Unit flow 0.61 0.753 0.88
u j Model efficiency 91% 93.79% 91%
Gk = ui'u 'j (5)
xi
After modeling,

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IV. CALCUALTION RESULTS AND ANALYSIS abundant, the circumfluence of guide vane is good, there is no
The calculation results of whole flow field flowing impact at the head, no vortex at the tail, and the circumfluence
situations of water in volute, fixed guide vanes, guide vanes, in the volute is ideal. However, in non-design operating
runner and draft tube on different operating conditions and at conditions, there are vortexes between blade channels on
different moments of the same cycle are as follows. different operating conditions and at different moments of the
same cycle between fixed guide vanes and guide vanes, and
The pressure and velocity distribution results at the between guide vanes and runner blades. At minimum flow
midsection of the whole flow field, and the circumfluence of conditions, the water impact near the crown area at the front of
water in the volute under the design operating conditions are the inlet side of the runner is serious. After impact, water will
shown in Fig.4. The comparative results of circumfluence flow laterally from the crown to the band under the influence
distribution in the runner blade under design operating of the blade and runner crown. Meanwhile, large flow
conditions and non-design operating conditions, as well as the separation will be formed at the suction side, and then
pressure distribution on all blades are shown in Fig.5. The interblade vortexes will be formed. If the opening is increased,
circumfluence of fixed guide vanes, guide vanes and runner, the situation of the vortex can be improved.
and the velocity and pressure distribution of the runner at an
instantaneous are shown in Fig.6. The distributions of interblade vortexes at the cross
sections near the lower end surface of the guide vanes and
fixed guide vanes at 1/4 cycle under various operating
conditions are shown in Fig.7 for comparison.

Pressure distribution Velocity distribution Circumfluence of volute


at the midsection at the midsection
Design operating Maximum flow Minimum flow
Figure 4. Pressure and velocity distributions at the midsection of the conditions conditions conditions
whole flow passage
Figure 7. Distribution of interblade vortexes at the cross sections near
the lower end surface of the guide vanes and fixed guide vanes at 1/4 cycle

Under different operating conditions, the pressure field


distribution at the peripheral directions of the outlet of volute,
the outlets of fixed guide vanes and guide vanes are similar.
The pressure fluctuation at the outlet of the fixed guide vanes
is smaller than that at the outlet of guide vanes. This may be
Design operating Non-design operating Pressure distribution caused by the dynamic and static interferences by the runner
and guide vanes at the inlet of the runner, and the inconsistent
conditions conditions
number of blades.

Figure 5. Circumfluence of runner blade and pressure distribution of Under Minimum flow conditions, due to the small
the whole blade discharge angle from the guide vanes, the water impact near
the crown area at the front of the inlet side of the runner is
serious. After impact, water will flow laterally from the crown
to the band under the influence of the blade and runner crown.
Meanwhile, large flow separation will be formed at the suction
side, and then interblade vortexes will be formed. The
occurring of vortex reduces the velocity near the crown at the
outlet of the runner. If the opening and the flow rate are
increased, the head impact, flow separation at the suction side
Figure 6. Circumfluence distribution of guide vane and runner, and and the lateral flow at the inlet of the blade will be gradually
instantaneous velocity and pressure distribution in the runner blade channel improved.
From the above Figures of static pressure distribution of Meanwhile under minimum flow conditions, the water
runner, flow situation among guide vanes, circumfluence impact, flow separation and interblade vortexes at the head of
distribution of volute, pressure and velocity distributions on runner blade will reduce the relative velocity of water at the
runner blade, and circumfluence distribution of runner, we can outlet, especially near the crown. Therefore, the discharge
see that under the design operating conditions, the pressure angle is small. Under the same peripheral velocity, the
distribution on the rubber blade is uniform, the variation of peripheral component of absolute velocity is large, while the
gradient is obvious, the energy conversion of water is radial velocity is small, and the axial velocity at the outlet is

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also small. So water will flow from the crown to the band at conditions and maximum flow conditions. Under minimum
the outlet of the runner. Most of the water will flow to the flow conditions, this vortex strip is severely offset in spiral
outer edge, the over flow area at the downstream of the runner shape, and the pressure fluctuation is large. Under maximum
will be reduced, a large area of recirculation zone and a dead flow conditions, this vortex strip is contracting next to the
water zone will be formed at the center, and large recirculation runner, and the shape of vortex strip is changing greatly at
will form at the lower part of the runner cone. This will different rotation moments. Under design flow conditions, this
interfere and squeeze out the water at the outlet of the runner. vortex strip is obviously improved.
With the increasing of the opening, the peripheral velocity at
the outlet of the runner will decrease, and the radial velocity V. CONCLUSIONS
and axial velocity will increase. The lateral flow at the outlet The three dimensional model of an A696-LJ-108 Francis
of the runner will disappear, and the lower of runner cone will turbine in a specific hydropower station is established in this
be filled with down flowing water, and the flow in the draft paper. The distribution of velocity vector and static pressure of
tube cone will be improved. volute, guide vanes, runner and draft tube flow passage under
three conditions (design operating conditions, maximum flow
From the above calculation results of flow field, we can conditions and minimum flow conditions) are calculated. The
see that under the same head, the frequency of Karman vortex interblade vortexes in fixed guide vanes, guide vanes and
behind the blade is increasing with the reducing of the between runner blades of the turbine are compared and
opening. The frequency of Karman vortex behind the guide analyzed in detail on different operating conditions and at
vanes is much higher than that behind the fixed guide vanes. different moments of the same cycle. This opens up a new way
The distribution of vortex flow in the whole cycle of draft in finding out the interblade vortexes in the guide vanes and
tube under minimum flow conditions is shown in Fig.8. The runner, the pressure pulsation in the draft tube, as well as its
law, especially the inter-relationship between flow separation
distribution of vortex flow in the whole cycle of draft tube
vortex and its pulsation frequency at the outlet side of the blade
under design operating conditions is shown in Fig.9. The
under different operating conditions. This is of great guiding
distribution of vortex flow in the whole cycle of draft tube significance in analyzing and improving the operational
under maximum flow conditions is shown in Fig.10. stability of the turbine.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Special thanks to the School of Energy and Environment of
Xihua University for providing the laboratory and EEAE
Committee for providing this template.
1/4 cycle 2/4 cycle 3/4 cycle 4/4 cycle
REFERENCES
Figure 8. Vortex flow in draft tube under minimum flow conditions [1] China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research,
1Translations of Hydraulic Vibration of Water Turbine. 1st ed., China
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[2] Liangjun Cheng, On the Problem of Hydro-Vibration of Francis Turbines.
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under High Head on No. 3 Generating Unit of Fengman Hydraulic Power
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(In Chinese).
[4] O.Eichler, 1979. Vibration Phenomena on Hydraulic Axial Turbines.
IAHRIUTAM 1979, Karlsruhe 4.
Figure 9. Vortex flow in draft tube under design operating conditions
[5] Xiaobing Liu, Yongzhong Zeng, and Shuyou Cao, Numerical Prediction
of Silt Abrasive Erosive in Hydraulic Turbine. Journal of Hydrodynamics,
Ser. B, Vol 17(4), pp. 448454, 2005.
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[7] Gang Wu, Caixin Wei, Kewei Zhang, and Liren Song, Study of Pressure
1/4 cycle 2/4 cycle 3/4 cycle 4/4 cycle Fluctuations in Draft Tubes of Francis Type Hydraulic Turbines under
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[8] Jinxia Chen, Guowei Li, Shengzhu Liu, and Guiping Lv, The Occurrence
Figure 10. Vortex flow in draft tube under maximum flow conditions and the Influence of the Interblade Vortex on the Hydraulic Turbine
Stability. Large Electric Machine and Hydraulic Turbine, Vol 3, pp. 4246,
From the above calculation results, we can see that different 2007 (In Chinese).
degrees of draft tube vortexes will occur under minimum flow

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