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FLOW FIELD IN A HIGH HEAD FRANCIS TURBINE DRAFT TUBE DURING TRANSIENT OPERATIONS
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Fluid and Experimental Mechanics.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Hydroelectricity plays an important role to balance the stability of grid network.  In order to improve the stability of presently high loaded grids, hydropower plants are being operated over a wide range of operations and experiencing frequent start-stop, load rejection, and load acceptance. The turbines need to sustain sudden change in their operating condition to balance the grid frequency. Francis turbines have been widely used because of their wider operating range and higher stability in operation during rapid load variation. This has resulted in severe damage to the turbines as they are not normally designed to operate under such transient conditions.

Several low and high frequency pressure fluctuations prevail during transients operating conditions. Generally, wall pressure measurements are performed which may not provide sufficient information to investigate the flow instabilities related to these fluctuations. Thus, the main objective of the present work is to simplify and perform optical measurements in a turbine during transient operating conditions to investigate the flow field. The measurements have been performed at the Water Power Laboratory using a high head model Francis turbine. The turbine is a 1:5.1 scale down model of a prototype operating at the Tokke Power Plant, Norway. The model runner diameter, net head, and discharge at the best efficiency point (BEP) were 0.349 m, 12 m, and 0.2 m3 s-1, respectively. A total ten pressure sensors were mounted at different locations namely, turbine inlet, vaneless space, and draft tube. The data were acquired at a sampling rate of 5 kHz. The instruments and sensors have been calibrated according to guidelines available in IEC standards. The determined total uncertainty in the measurement of hydraulic efficiency was ±0.15% at BEP condition. The velocity measurements in the draft tube cone were performed using a 2D PIV system and the images were sampled at a rate of 40 Hz.

     Steady state measurements were carried out considering the realistic design and off-design operating conditions of the prototype turbine. Therefore, the angular speed of the runner was maintained constant for all steady state conditions during the measurements. The maximum hydraulic efficiency (92.4%) was observed at nED = 0.18, QED = 0.15, and a = 9.8º, which is named BEP. It is observed that the turbine experiences significant pressure fluctuations at the vaneless space, runner, and the draft tube. The fluctuations due to rotor-stator interaction (RSI) were observed to be most dominating at high load condition, however, fluctuations due to the rotating vortex rope (RVR) at part load (PL) condition. Two different modes (synchronous and asynchronous) modes of vortex rope are observed at PL condition of the turbine. An asymmetry in the flow leaving the runner was detected at both design and off-design conditions, with a stronger effect during off-design operating condition. Numerical simulations of the model turbine were carried out at PL operating condition. The simulations were performed using two turbulence models, standard k-ε and SST k-ω, with high-resolution advection scheme. The numerical pressure values obtained with both standard k-ε model and SST k-ω showed a small difference with the experimental values. The amplitudes of numerical pressure values were higher (~2.8%) in the vaneless space and lower (~5.0%) in the draft tube than the experimental values. The frequencies of the RSI and RVR were well captured in the turbine but the amplitudes were overestimated.  

During load rejection from BEP to PL, the plunging mode of the vortex rope was observed to appear first in the system than that of the rotating mode. Whereas during the load acceptance from PL to BEP, both the modes were observed to disappear simultaneously from the system. In the velocity data, the axial velocity only contributed to the development of the plunging mode and radial velocity to the rotating mode. The region of low velocity, stagnation point, flow separation, recirculation, oscillating flow and high axial velocity gradients were well captured in the system during the transients. The induced high-velocity gradients during the load acceptance from BEP to HL was observed to develop a vortex core in the draft tube.

During startup and shutdown, the guide vanes angular position was moved from one to another steady state condition to achieve the minimum load condition of the turbine. At this condition, the generator of the turbine was magnetized at the synchronous speed during startup and shutdown, respectively. The frequency of wave propagation was observed to vary with the runner angular speed during startup and complete shutdown of the turbine. Comparatively high-pressure fluctuations in the draft tube were observed during the guide vane movement from the high discharge conditions. Some unsteady phenomena such as the formation of dead velocity zone, backward flow, and flow oscillations were observed during startup and shutdown of the turbine.  

The current work has been also used to continue a series of workshops, i.e., Francis-99. The first workshop was held on December 2014 with the cooperation of LTU and NTNU. The measurements performed in this work were used for the second workshop which was held on December 2016. The investigations presented in this thesis will be further explored in the third workshop scheduled for December 2018. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017. , 211 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword [en]
Francis turbine, Steady state, Transient, Particle Image Velocimetry, Vortex Rope
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics
Research subject
Fluid Mechanics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-66297ISBN: 978-91-7583-998-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-999-8 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-66297DiVA: diva2:1153137
Public defence
2017-12-07, E246, Division of Fluid and Experimental Mechanics, TVM, Lulea, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-30 Created: 2017-10-27 Last updated: 2017-11-16Bibliographically approved

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