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Weight Optimization of Turbine Blades

J.S. Rao Chief Science Officer, Altair Engineering Mercury 2B Block, 5th Floor, Prestige Tech Park, Sarjapur Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560103, India js.rao@altair.com

Bhaskar Kishore Project Engineer, Altair ProductDesign Mercury 2B Block, 5th Floor, Prestige Tech Park, Sarjapur Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560103, India bhaska.chirravuri@altair.com

Vasantha Kumar Project Manager, Altair ProductDesign Mercury 2B Block, 5th Floor, Prestige Tech Park, Sarjapur Marathahalli Outer Ring Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, 560103, India vasanthakumar.mahadevappa@altair.com

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Abstract
Optimization of aircraft structures and engines for minimum weight has become important in the recent designs. Topology optimization of airframe structures, wings, and fuselage is now practiced since last 3-4 years to reduce weight considerably in ribbed members, rotating structures in engines is of much more recent origin. Advanced engine rotating components such as blades and disks operate as globally elastic but locally plastic structures. The shape of the notch in these structures where yield occurs can be optimized to reduce peak strain levels considerably that can significantly increase life of the component. In addition, designers have been practicing to remove some material in the blade platform area by analysis. This weight removal can be optimized to obtain maximum reduction without compromising the structural integrity. This procedure is illustrated in this paper by using two optimization codes, Altair OptiStruct for linear structures and Altair HyperStudy for nonlinear structures using Ansys platform as the main solver. Using this procedure nearly 10% weight reduction is achieved.

1.0 Introduction
Bladed Disks are most flexible elements in steam and gas turbines used in land based and aerospace applications. While the average stress in the mating areas of these bladed disks is fully elastic and well below yield, the peak stress at singularities in the groove shape can reach yield values and into local plastic region. Last stage LP turbine blades and first stage LP compressor blades are the most severely stressed blades in the system. Usually these are the limiting cases of blade design allowing the peak stresses to reach yield or just above yield conditions. Failures can occur with crack initiation at the stress raiser location and propagation, two cases can be cited. The last stage blades in an Electricite de France B2 TG Set failed in Porcheville on August 22, 1977 during over speed testing Frank (1982). On March 31,1993 Narora machine LP last stage blades suffered catastrophic failures, see Rao (1998). These blades have stresses well beyond yield. On Narora machine blade, initial fully elastic analysis has shown a peak stress value 3253 MFa though the average stress is only 318 MFa. An elasto plastic analysis for the same case showed that the peak stress is 1157 MFa well beyond the yield. While it is not possible to eliminate the yield and keep the structure fully elastic to achieve the last stage blades in limiting cases, it will be advisable to achieve the yield conditions to be as low as possible. Invariably all the earlier long blade designs in last stage LP turbines or first stage LP compressors operate in local plastic regions. Until recently, the dynamic stress field under nonlinear conditions is determined using energy methods and one dimensional beam models as given by Rao and Vyas (1996). A serious disadvantage in this approach is the inability to model the stress field in the regions of discontinuities or stress raisers. Today's commercial finite element codes can handle large mesh sizes and can be used as solvers not only for an accurate assessment of the stress and strain field Rao et. al., (2000) but also for applications in optimization.

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The shape optimization in recent years depended on determining strain energy density and based on the location where it is high, different shapes were chosen and models are generated. Rao (2003) discussed these developments from an industry perspective. Because the problem is highly nonlinear due to centrifugal stiffening and spin softening, considerable time is taken to achieve an optimized root. Optimization has become a necessity in the recent years to achieve an optimal design in stress or strain, stiffness and weight etc. In earlier practices, dedicated codes are developed to achieve a specific optimization problem. For example, Bhat, Rao and Sankar (1982) used the method of feasibility directions to achieve optimum journal bearings for minimum unbalance response. OptiStruct (2003) has been developed recently to perform linear structural optimization and successfully applied for topology, topography, gauge and shape optimizations of automotive and airframe structures, e.g., Schuhmacher (2006), Taylor et. al., (2006) discussed the weight optimization achieved in aircraft structures. HyperStudy (2003) is a multi-purpose DOE/ Optimization/ Stochastic tool used to perform wide cross-section of optimizations in CFD, Heat Transfer, Structures or multi physics problems using available commercial code platforms. With additional advances in mesh morphing techniques, HyperMesh (2003), it has become somewhat easier in shape optimization. Advanced engine rotating components such as blades and disks operate as globally elastic but locally plastic structures. The shape of the notch in these structures where yield occurs can be optimized to reduce peak strain levels considerably that can significantly increase life of the component. In advanced military aircraft engines the weight removal can be a major objective even if it is small. This paper illustrates shape and weight optimization in the blade root region. 2.0 Shape Optimization of a Steam Turbine Blade Root Notch The Bladed Disk considered has 60 pre-twisted blades each with a height of 290 mm placed on the disk with the bottom of the blade root at a radius of 248 mm from the axis of the rotor. Asector of rotor disc is modeled to make use of cyclic symmetry condition. Fig. 1 shows the 3D finite element model having 8 noded brick elements with finer mesh in all the critical regions around the singularities in the dovetail root fillet regions with 2 to 3 layers of elements and size as low as 0.235 mm. The mesh shown in Fig. 1 consists of 305524 elements and 344129 nodes. Baseline Analysis Before attempting a shape optimization of the given root, a base line stress analysis is first carried out. For this purpose the blade along with disk effect is considered by modeling a 1/60 sector of the disk with one blade and using cyclic symmetry boundary conditions applied on both the partition surfaces as shown in Fig. 1. The common nodes on the pressure faces at six positions, shown in Fig. 1, where the load transfer between blade and disc takes place are joined together to make it as a single entity. The blade and disc are assumed to be made up of same material with Yield stress 585 MPa, Young's Modulus 210 GPa, Density 7900 Kg/m 3 and Poisson's Ratio OJ.

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Figure 1: Bladed Disk Model Showing the FE Mesh Elastic Analysis An elastic stress analysis is conducted for a centrifugal load at full speed 8500 RPM, using ANSYS solver (2004). The Von Mises elastic stress field near the root region is shown in Fig. 2. The root fillet in the first landing area experiences a severe stress of 1825 MPa at node 153608 well beyond Yield 585 MPa, with an average sectional stress 256 MPa. Stress contour beyond yield is shown to be spread across 3 elements over a depth of 1.22 mm.

Figure 2: Von Mises Stress in Elastic domain at 8500 RPM Elasto Plastic Analysis The hardening property of the material in the plastic region is given in Fig. 3. The elastoplastic analysis result for the von Mises stress is given in Fig. 4. The root fillet now experiences a peak Von Mises stress 768 MPa at a node 176017 in the same region which is beyond the yield value 585 MPa. The peak stress value has dropped considerably from the elastic analysis result 1825 MPa to a value 768 MPa just above the yield.

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The peak strain observed at the node 153608 in the same region closer to peak stress location is 0.0153.

Figure 4: Material hardening characteristic in the plastic region

Figure 4: Results of Elasto-Plastic analysis at 8500 RPM 3.0 Shape Optimization The peak stress in the root region being plastic, the strain gets hardened while stress relaxes due to yielding. An optimization for minimum peak stress is carried out that will substantially decrease plastic strain. With decreased local strain, life gets enhanced.

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HyperStudy HyperStudy can be applied in the multi-disciplinary optimization of a design combining different analysis types. Once the finite element model and shape variables are developed, an optimization can be performed by linking HyperStudy to a particular solver of choice that can include nonlinear analyses. Global optimization methods used in HyperStudy use higher order polynomials to approximate the original structural optimization problem over a wide range of design variables. The polynomial approximation techniques are referred to as Response Surface methods. A sequential response surface method approach is used in which, the objective and constraint functions are approximated in terms of design variables using a second order polynomial. One can create a sequential response surface update by linear steps or by quadratic response surfaces. The process can also be used for non-linear physics and experimental analysis using wrap-around software, which can link with various solvers. Optimization through HyperStudy Here, HyperStudy is linked with ANSYS solver used in base line analysis. Shape optimization is carried by using the baseline model, having the cyclic symmetry boundary conditions imposed on the disc, with the objective to minimize the peak stresses. Shape variables are given in Table 1, as depicted in Fig. 5. These parameters are taken as the design variables in the optimization problem.

Table 1: Shape Variable Definitions

Figure 5: Parameters used for defining the shape variables

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The details of mesh are given in Fig. 6 which is morphed with the parameters as continuous variables using HyperMesh.

Figure 6: Morphed Mesh for the Design Variables

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Figure 7: Shape Optimization in 21 Iterations

Figure 8: Optimized Shape

The objective function and shape variables during the optimization process are given in Fig. 7 and the final optimized shape is shown in Fig. 8. Table 2 gives the optimized shape compared with the base line.

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Table 2: Comparison of Optimized Shape with Baseline Maximum stress has decreased marginally from 768 to 746 MPa by 22 MPa (2.86%) from baseline elastoplastic analysis for 8500 RPM; however the peak plastic strains reduced from 0.0153 to 0.01126 by 26.4%. This is the major advantage in optimization for a blade root shape. 4.0 Weight Optimization Shape optimization was discussed in the previous section where the main aim is to increase life when the blades are subjected to local plastic conditions. If the local plastic conditions are to be avoided, one may have to sacrifice the blade length so as to decrease the centrifugal loads with a corresponding loss in extraction of power from the turbine. The case of military aircraft engines, on the other hand, is different; here the life can be limited, but weight is an important criterion. Usually considerable material sits near the platform region taking very little load and can be easily removed without endangering the structural integrity. Here, such a weight optimization problem is illustrated. LP Compressor Blade for Weight Optimization Fig. 9 shows the CAD model of a typical aircraft engine LP compressor blade made of a Ti-alloy; Mass Density = 4.42x10-9 N.sec2/mm4, Poisson's ratio = 0.3, Young's modulus = 102 GPa, Yield strength = 820 MPa.

Figure 9: CAD Model ofA LP Compressor Bladed Disk

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The blade separated from the disk is shown in Fig. 10. The FE model of the disk is shown in Fig. 11. It has 106066 Solid 45 elements with 121948 nodes. The FE model of the blade is given in Fig. 12 with 46970 Solid 45 elements and 41811 nodes. Loads and boundary conditions are given in Fig. 13. The nonlinear material property of the bladed-disk is shown in Fig. 14.

Figure 10: CAD Model of Blade

Figure 11: FE Model of Disk

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Figure 12: FE Model of Blade

Figure 13: Loads and Boundary Conditions

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Figure 14: Material Stress-Strain Characteristics

Baseline Results The baseline results are given in Figs. 15 and 16 for the disk and blade respectively. The peak stress in the disk is 787 MPa below the yield strength of the material. The maximum value of stress in the blade is 721 MPa. Optimization HyperStudy is used to optimize the blade for weight reduction by limiting the peak stress to the yield value, 820 MPa in the blade-disk system. Ansys is the solver used to determine the elasto-plastic stress condition with HyperStudy calling Ansys for optimization.

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Figure 15: Disk Baseline Stress Results

Figure 16: Blade Baseline Stress Result The blade root and shank have considerable regions of stress well below yield and a baseline for optimization is chosen as given in Fig. 17. As shown, 8 holes with radius R=1.75 nun are provided in the blade root and two cutouts in the shank are allowed to reduce the weight. Fig. 18 gives the cutout proposed in the shank. The blade root in Fig. 18 originally without any cutouts was 7890.34 mm3. The objective function is chosen to be this volume and it was minimized subject to the condition that the peak stress is limited to the yield value, namely 820MPa.

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Fig. 19 gives the design variables chosen; the front shank has Dl=1.1, Wla=4.75, Wlb=13.94 nun, while the rear shank D2-1.1, W2a=4.44, W2b=13.64 nun. Table 3 gives the range of design variables allowed in optimization.

Figure 17: Baseline for Weight Optimization

Figure 18: Baseline Root Region of the Blade

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Figure 19: Design Variables on the Front Shank

Table 3: Range of Design Variables Fig. 20 gives the objective function for minimum volume during optimization; In 16 steps the result was achieved. The objective function value decreased from 7890.34 to 7098.93 mm3, i.e., a reduction of 10.03%. The progress of the design variables in this process is shown in Fig. 21. Optimum design variables are given in Table 4. Fig. 21 and 22 give the optimized stress results for the disk and blade respectively. In the disk, the peak stress increased from 787 to 810 MPa, while in the blade, the stress increased from 721 to 798 MPa.

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Figure 20: Objective Function, Volume of Blade Root

Figure 21: Design Variables in Optimization

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Table 4: Optimized Design Variables

Figure 22: Optimized Disk Stress Result

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Figure 23: Optimized Blade Stress Result

The weight reduction in the root region achieved is 10.03%. This will be considerable reduction in the bladeddisk stage of this compressor. Such a reduction can be achieved in all compressor and turbine stages for minimum weight objective. 5.0 Conclusions In this paper turbomachinery blade optimization is performed to increase life and minimize weight. Shape optimization is carried out in the peak stress regions to determine the most appropriate shape of the blade root in the stress raiser location. Peak stress was the objective function and the shape was varied with several variables in the region. This optimization showed that the local strain can be reduced considerably by as much as 26%. This reduction will have significant influence on the life of the bladed disk. Next a case of weight optimization of the blades is considered. In the root region where there is a considerable material with less stress load distribution, several holes and cutouts in the shank region are used as design variables. The weight of the blade root region where the cutouts are made is taken as the objective function. The shank cutouts and the holes in the root are used as design variables. The root region could be optimized to reduce weight by as much as 10%.

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6.0 Acknowledgements The authors are thankful to Altair Engineering India for their support. 7.0 References ANSYS, (2004) Release 9.0 Documentation, Ansys Inc., USA Bhat, R B., Rao, J S and Sankar, T S, (1982), Optimum Journal Bearing Parameters for Minimum Rotor Unbalance Response in Synchronous Whirl, Journal of Mechanical Design, TransASME, v.104, p.339 Frank, W (1982), Schaden Speigel, 25, No.1, 20 HyperMesh, (2003) User's Manual v7.0, Altair Engineering Inc., Troy, MI, USA HyperStudy, (2003) Users Manual v7.0, Altair Engineering Inc., Troy, MI, USA OptiStruct, (2003) User's Manual v7. 0, Altair Engineering Inc., Troy, MI, USA Rao, J S. (1998), Application of Fracture Mechanics in the Failure Analysis of A Last Stage Steam Turbine Blade, Mechanism and Machine Theory, vol. 33, No.5, p. 9 Rao, J S. (2003), Recent Advanced in India for Airframe & Aeroengine Design and Scope for Global Cooperation, Society of Indian Aerospace Technologies & Industries, 11th Anniversary Seminar, February 8, 2003, Bangalore Rao, J. S. and vyas, N. S (1996), Determination of Blade Stresses under Constant Speed and Transient Conditions with Nonlinear Damping, J of Engng. for Gas Turbines and Power, Trans ASME, voL 116, p. 424 Rao, J S., et. al. (2000), Elastic Plastic Fracture Mechanics of a LP Last Stage Steam Turbine Blade Root, ASME-2000-GT-0569 Schuhmacher, G (2006), Optimizing Aircraft Structures, Concept to Reality, Winter Issue, p. 12 Taylor, R. M, et. al.(2006), Detail Part Optimization on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, AIAA 2006-1868, 47th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Material Conference, Newport, Rhode Island.

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