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Research Papers: Flows in Complex Systems

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091101-091101-15. doi:10.1115/1.4036248.

The pressure fluctuations and runner loads on a pump-turbine runner during runaway process are very violent and the corresponding flow evolution is complicated. To study these phenomena and their correlations in depth, the runaway processes of a model pump-turbine at four guide vane openings (GVOs) were simulated by three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (3D-CFD). The results show that the flow structures around runner inlet have regular development and transition patterns—the reverse flow occurs when the trajectory moves to the turbine-brake region and the main reverse velocity shifts locations among the hub side, the shroud side and the midspan as the trajectory comes forward and backward in the S-shape region. The locally distributed reverse flow vortex structures (RFVS) enhance the local rotor–stator interaction (RSI) and make the pressure fluctuations in vaneless space at the corresponding section stronger than at the rest sections along the spanwise direction. The transitions of RFVS, turning from the hub side to midspan, facilitate the inception and development of rotating stall, which propagates at approximately 45–72% of the runner rotation frequency. The evolving rotating stall induces asymmetrical pressure distribution on the runner blade, resulting in intensive fluctuations of runner torque and radial force. During the runaway process, the changing characteristics of the reactive axial force are dominated by the change rate of flow discharge, and the amplitude of low frequency component of axial force is in proportion to the amplitude of discharge change rate.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091103-091103-9. doi:10.1115/1.4036444.

Two-phase flows across tube bundles are very commonly found in industrial heat exchange equipment such as shell and tube heat exchangers. However, recent studies published in the literature are generally performed on devices where the flow crosses the tube bundle in only a vertical or horizontal direction, lacking geometrical fidelity with industrial models, and the majority of them use air and water as the working fluids. Also, currently, experimental approaches and simulations are based on very simplified models. This paper reports the simulation of a laboratory full-scale tube bundle with a combination of vertical and horizontal flows and with two different baffle configurations. Also, it presents a similarity analysis to evaluate the influence of changing the fluids to hydrogen and diesel in the operational conditions of the hydrotreating. The volume of fluid (VOF) approach is used as the interface phenomena are very important. The air/water simulations show good agreement with classical correlations and are able to show the stratified behavior of the flow in the horizontal regions and the intermittent flow in the vertical regions. Also, the two baffle configurations are compared in terms of volume fraction and streamlines. When dealing with hydrogen/diesel flow using correlations and maps made for air/water, superficial velocity is recommended as similarity variable when a better prediction of the pressure drop is needed, and the modified superficial velocity is recommended for prediction of the volume-average void fraction and the outlet superficial void fraction.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Fundamental Issues and Canonical Flows

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091201-091201-8. doi:10.1115/1.4036269.

In Francis turbines, which are normally designed at a reaction ratio of 0.5, the available pressure energy in the fluid is converted into 50% kinetic energy before entering the runner. This causes high acceleration of the flow in guide vanes (GVs), which adds to the unsteadiness and losses in the turbine. In sediment-affected power plants, the hard sand particles erode and gradually increase the clearance gap between the GV and facing plates, which causes more disturbances in downstream turbine components. This study focuses on investigating the flow through the clearance gap of the GV with cambered hydrofoil shapes by using particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique. The measurements are carried out in one GV cascade rig, which produces similar velocity fields around a GV, as compared to the real turbine. The investigation is done in two cases of cambered GV National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) profiles, and the comparison of the velocity and pressure distribution around the hydrofoil is done with the results in symmetric profile studied earlier. It is seen that the pressure distribution around the hydrofoil affects the velocity field, leakage flow, and characteristics of the vortex filament developed inside the cascade. NACA4412, which has flatter suction side (SS) than NACA2412 and NACA0012, is seen to have smaller pressure difference between the two adjacent sides of the vane. The flow inside the clearance gap of NACA2412 enforces change in the flow angle, which forms a vortex filament with a rotational component. This vortex along with improper stagnation angle could have greater consequences in the erosion of the runner inlet (RIn) and more losses of the turbine.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091202-091202-10. doi:10.1115/1.4036594.

A dimensional analysis which is based on the scaling of the two-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations is presented for correlating bulk flow characteristics arising from a variety of initial conditions. The analysis yields a functional relationship between the characteristic variable of the flow region and the Reynolds number for each of the two independent flow regimes, laminar and turbulent. A linear relationship is realized for the laminar regime, while a nonlinear relationship is realized for the turbulent regime. Both relationships incorporate mass-flow profile characteristics to capture the effects of initial conditions (mean flow and turbulence) on the variation of the characteristic variable. The union of these two independent relationships is formed leveraging the concept of flow intermittency to yield a generic functional relationship that incorporates transitional flow effects and fully encompasses solutions spanning the laminar to turbulent flow regimes. Empirical models to several common flows are formed to demonstrate the engineering potential of the proposed functional relationship.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091203-091203-8. doi:10.1115/1.4036410.

This paper presents a parametric study on the interaction of twin circular synthetic jets (SJs) that are in line with a crossflow over a flat plate. The resulting vortex structures under different actuation, and flow conditions are investigated using two-plane dye visualization in a water tunnel. The influence of four independent nondimensional parameters, i.e., the Reynolds number (ReL), Strouhal number (St), velocity ratio (VR), and phase difference (Δϕ), on the behavior of the twin SJs is studied. It is found that the increase of Reynolds number causes the SJ-induced vortex structures more turbulent, making the twin SJ interaction less organized. The increase of velocity ratio pushes the occurrence of interaction further away from the wall and makes the resulting vortex structures more sustainable. The St has no obvious influence on the interaction. And three types of vortex structures are observed under different phase differences: one combined vortex, two completely separated vortices, and partially interacting vortex structures. Based on this parametric study, a simple model is proposed to predict the resulting vortex pattern for the twin SJ interaction.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091204-091204-13. doi:10.1115/1.4036477.

Turbulent flow through helical pipes with circular cross section is numerically investigated comparing with the experimental results obtained by our team. Numerical calculations are carried out for two helical circular pipes having different pitches and the same nondimensional curvature δ (=0.1) over a wide range of the Reynolds number from 3000 to 21,000 for torsion parameter β (=torsion /2δ  = 0.02 and 0.45). We numerically obtained the secondary flow, the axial flow and the intensity of the turbulent kinetic energy by use of three turbulence models incorporated in OpenFOAM. We found that the change to fully developed turbulence is identified by comparing experimental data with the results of numerical simulations using turbulence models. We also found that renormalization group (RNG) kε turbulence model can predict excellently the fully developed turbulent flow with comparison to the experimental data. It is found that the momentum transfer due to turbulence dominates the secondary flow pattern of the turbulent helical pipe flow. It is interesting that torsion effect is more remarkable for turbulent flows than laminar flows.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Research Papers: Techniques and Procedures

J. Fluids Eng. 2017;139(9):091401-091401-10. doi:10.1115/1.4036593.

We describe a novel nonintrusive velocimetry technique for measuring the instantaneous velocity field on a liquid sheet. Short wavelength corrugations are naturally formed on the surface of a liquid sheet when the sheet interacts with ambient air. This method, called feature correlation velocimetry (FCV), relies on cross-correlation of such short wavelength corrugations visualized on the liquid sheet surface when captured using a high-speed camera. An experimental setup was created for producing a liquid sheet of known thickness and velocity. After imaging the liquid sheet with a high-speed camera, cross-correlation was employed at various spatial locations on the liquid sheet. To examine the fidelity of the method, laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) measurements were obtained for a range of flow rates at the same spatial locations and were compared with the FCV values. The FCV values were found to be consistently within 7% of the LDV readings with the FCV measurements being consistently less than those from the LDV. In order to examine the cause of the bias error, a theoretical model of the liquid sheet has been developed. Based on the model predictions, the bias error was observed to scale as U3/2, where U is the local instantaneous liquid sheet velocity. After correcting for this bias error, a good match was observed between the FCV and the LDV readings. As an application of the FCV method, the near-nozzle region of an annular sheet exiting a spray injector has been characterized.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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