Perspective: Fluid Dynamics and Performance of Automotive Torque Converters: An Assessment

[+] Author and Article Information
T. W. von Backström

Aerospace Engineering, Center for Gas Turbine and Power, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

B. Lakshminarayana

Center for Gas Turbine and Power, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

J. Fluids Eng 118(4), 665-676 (Dec 01, 1996) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2835494 History: Received March 15, 1996; Revised September 06, 1996; Online January 22, 2008


Experimental investigations by various groups over the past decade have uncovered the main features of the flow in hydraulic torque converters. Measurement techniques include laser and hot wire velocimetry, fast response and conventional five-hole probes, and blade and wall static pressure measurement. In both the pump and turbine, the through flow velocity is high near the pressure surface shell corner while the flow in the suction surface core corner is highly turbulent and may be separated and reversed. The position of the stator in a passage curved in the meridional plane leads to secondary flow and low velocities at the core near the pump inlet. Velocity gradients coupled with flow turning and rotor rotation lead to strong secondary flows. By using data from a combination of measurement techniques, torque converter torque, power and efficiency are calculated, and the effect of element efficiency on overall efficiency is demonstrated. It is concluded that design methods should be developed that allow for nonuniform velocity profiles, flow separation, secondary circulation and interaction effects between elements.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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