Improved Flutter Prediction for Turbomachinery Blades with Tip Clearance Flows

Sammanfattning: Recent design trends in steam turbines strive for high aerodynamic loading and high aspect ratio to meet the demand of higher efficiency. These design trends together with the low structural frequency in last stage steam turbines increase the susceptibility of the turbine blades to flutter. Flutter is the self-excited and self-sustained aeroelastic instability phenomenon, which can result in rapid growth of blade vibration amplitude and eventually blade failure in a short period of time unless adequately damped. To prevent the occurrences of flutter before the operation of new steam turbines, a compromise between aeroelastic stability and stage efficiency has to be made in the steam turbine design process. Due to the high uncertainty in present flutter prediction methods, engineers use large safety margins in predicting flutter which can rule out designs with higher efficiency. The ability to predict flutter more accurately will allow engineers to push the design envelope with greater confidence and possibly create more efficient steam turbines.The present work aims to investigate the influence of tip clearance flow on the prediction of steam turbine flutter characteristics. Tip clearance flow effect is one of the critical factors in flutter analysis for the majority of aerodynamic work is done near the blade tip. Analysis of the impact of tip clearance flow on steam turbine flutter characteristics is therefore needed to formulate a more accurate aeroelastic stability prediction method in the design phase.Besides the tip leakage vortex, the induced vortices in the tip clearance flow can also influence blade flutter characteristics. However, the spatial distribution of the induced vortices cannot be resolved by URANS method for the limitation of turbulence models. The Detached-Eddy Simulation (DES) calculation is thus applied on a realistic-scale last stage steam turbine model to analyze the structure of induced vortices in the tip region. The influence of the tip leakage vortex and the induced vortices on flutter prediction are analyzed separately.The KTH Steam Turbine Flutter Test Case is used in the flutter analysis as a typical realistic-scale last stage steam turbine model. The energy method based on 3D unsteady CFD calculation is applied in the flutter analysis. Two CFD solvers, an in-house code LUFT and a commercial software ANSYS CFX, are used in the flutter analysis as verification of each other. The influence of tip leakage vortex on the steam turbine flutter prediction is analyzed by comparing the aeroelastic stability of two models: one with the tip gap and the other without the tip gap. Comparison between the flutter characteristics predicted by URANS and DES approaches is analyzed to investigate the influence of the induced vortices on blade flutter characteristics.The multiple induced vortices and their relative rotation around the tip leakage vortex in the KTH Steam Turbine Flutter Test Case are resolved by DES but not by URANS simulations. Both tip leakage vortex and induced vortices have an influence on blade loading on the rear half of the suction side near the blade tip. The flutter analysis results suggest that the tip clearance flow has a significant influence on blade aerodynamic damping at the least stable interblade phase angle (IBPA), while its influence on the overall shape of the damping curve is minor. At the least stable IBPA, the tip leakage vortex shows a stabilization effect on rotor aeroelastic stabilities while the induced vortices show a destabilization effect on it. Meanwhile, a non-linear unsteady flow behavior is observed due to the streamwise motion of induced vortices during blade oscillation, which phenomenon is only resolved in DES results.