Axial Turbine Stage

Automated software for designing turbine blades

In spring of 2012 we did our first project on full automation of CFD process. Our customer was looking for a CFD software for rapid prototyping of steam turbine blades at reasonable cost tailored to the specifics of their development which would be able to capture all the phenomena occurring in his turbine design. 1D or 2D CFD analysis did not seem sufficient for the prediction of relevant parameters of the axial steam turbine blade. The whole methodology creation process of rapid cfd simulation of axial stages later became a part of the Turbomachinery CFD package.

OpenFOAM CFD simulation of axial turbine - velocity streamlines

There was an interest to test turbine stages and solving rotor-stator interaction. One of other customer’s requirements was the delivered software can be used by engineers who are not experts in CFD, they are supposed just to run fully automated software and interpret the results.

Openfoam axial stage turbine scheme

We have introduced the concept - we have internally called "Push-Button-Solution" (PBS) - full automation of all CFD processes from A to Z. We have proposed the use of OpenFOAM®, due to its very high capabilities in automation and customization. Cost savings compared to commercial software license fees were also not negligible because their engineers would be using the PBS daily.

  1. INIT – script reads information from the configuration text file and creates the test case, sets the parameters of fluid and boundary conditions.
  2. MESH – script reads the input from an ASCII file with the geometry (coordinates of the surface of the turbine blades and restrictive surfaces) and creates a 3D computational grid.
  3. RUN – runs the simulation. The solution is based on a steady state turbulent compressible solver. Stator-rotor interaction is simulated using the Mixing-Plane boundary condition.
  4. EVAL – automatic evaluation of the results

Axial stage turbine     Axial stage pressure distribution     Axial stage velocity distribution

We have successfully implemented the automation of CFD processes and found the Best-Practice setup that gives high quality of results consistent with the customer’s requirements. Our PBS proved it is very effective and "user-friendly" - the user inserts only two input files and run only one command. The whole process takes 1-4 hours to complete depending on the quality of the mesh. Outputs from the calculation are the flow field visualization, various 2D graphs of selected variables in selected locations and information on efficiencies and losses of the stator, rotor and the entire stage. We continue working on the further development of the whole solution. We see the future of CFD in using the of solutions based on the principle of automation and PBS.

See also other Turbomachinery CFD tutorial examples:

Axial Pump
Centrifugal Pump
Axial Fan
Centrifugal Fan
Axial Compressor
Centrifugal Compressor
Axial Turbine
Centrifugal Turbine
Francis Turbine
Kaplan Turbine

Please contact us for further information.

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