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Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res.

2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

ISSN 2278 – 0149 www.ijmerr.com

Vol. 1, No. 3, October 2012
© 2012 IJMERR. All Rights Reserved

Research Paper



Sandeep Soni1*

*Corresponding Author: Sandeep Soni,  sandytit2004@gmail.com

The moisture content in steam of low pressure stages of a turbine for a turbo-alternator can
cause erosion of the moving blades and the rate of erosion is believed to increase rapidly with
increasing velocity of impact of water droplets on blades. Liquid droplet erosion is one of major
concerns in the design of modern large fossil steam turbines because it causes serious
operational problems such as performance degradation and reduction of service life. An erosion
model has been used to analyze the erosion behavior of Co-Cr alloy coated steam turbine
blades of composite material. Various relations have been used to find parameters like: incubation
period, mass loss rate under changing conditions of steam quality, steam temperature, coating
thickness and diameter of the water droplets. Results have been plotted and discussed, showing
a distinct improvement in the erosion characteristics like: incubation period and mass loss rate
due to the application of coating on the turbine blades. Accordingly suitable operational parameters
have been defined to obtain the best possible performance of the steam turbine.

Keywords: Steam, Erosion, Turbine blades, Coating thickness

INTRODUCTION these turbines the steam flows in wet

Power shortage in the country due to the conditions. The water particles thus formed
tremendous pressure on power generation causes erosion of the blades (Krzyzanowski,
engineers for generating the cheaper power 1974; and Krzyzanowski and Szperngiel,
which leads to the design and development of 1978).
modern large power stations (more than A number of investigators have worked both
500 MW onwards). These power stations are experimentally as well as theoretically to find
run by large steam turbines which require huge a solution for controlling and curbing the bad
quantities of steam. In low pressure stage of effects of erosion. The paper emphasizes the
Mechanical Engineering Department, S.V.N.I.T., Surat 395007, Gujarat, India.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

use of following parameters like-density, wet MECHANISM OF EROSION

steam quality, impact velocity, size of the In the low pressure stages of a condensing
droplet, ultimate tensile strength, thickness of steam turbine, steam expands below the
the material, impact-pressure, temperature saturation line. Moisture gets precipitated in
and viscosity which plays a vital role as far as the form of drops. It is always desirable to
erosion is concerned (Ansari, 1986; and permit as high a degree of wetness as
Leyzerovich, 2008). possible at the exhaust, in order to get more
On the other hand in the last row of the work from steam but pressure of water drops
blades of large steam turbines about 6% of in the steam gives rise to certain losses which
the total heat drop of the steam flowing through are most undesirable. Hence, there is a
the turbine is converted into mechanical practical limit of wetness in exhaust steam. The
energy. main detrimental effects due to the presence
of water drops in steam are:
Since these two factors-high output and
quality of energy conversion—are also 1. Reduction of thermodynamic efficiency due
influenced by the last stage, particular attention to drag of water drops at high relative
has been paid to these blades during the few speeds.
years. The steam in last stage blades 2. Erosion of moving blades due to
becomes wet and the water particles thus impingement of water drops at high relative
formed can cause pits, cracks in the surface speeds.
or subsurface, or the mass loss of the material.
The damage called erosion, weakens the In these two, erosion is more detrimental
material significantly and renders components since it not only reduces the life of moving
exposed to liquid impingement inefficient or blades but is also deteriorates the efficiency
even useless (Springer, 1976; and Field, of the stage (Gillette, 1992).
1999). Erosion becomes more severe as the Water drops present in the steam hit the
lengths and hence tip speeds or the last stage moving blades with high relative velocity
blades increase. It is very important to thereby causing impact erosion of moving
understand the mechanism of erosion and to blades. This erosion is very severe and has a
develop improved means for controlling it very detrimental effect on the stage efficiency.
(Adler, 1995). It is almost universally established that a film
The production cost of the last stage blades of water exists on the surface of fixed blades.
for large turbines is very high. Therefore the The deposition rate will depend on droplet
turbine manufacturers make all the efforts to sizes.
manufacture and market a product which will The water on the fixed blades flow to the
give a trouble free service for long time. Thus, trailing edge under the influence of three
when designing and manufacturing the L.P. factors, force produced by the steam drag, the
stage blades alone, the factor of erosion is impulse of the fog deposition and the pressure
strongly considered (Moore et al., 1967; and drop along the blade (Ruml and Straka, 1995;
Stanisa and Ivusic, 1995). and Schofield, 1997). Water, on reaching the

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

trailing edge of fixed blades collects into large EROSION BY LIQUID

drops and those are sprayed off by steam flow. DROPLET
Some of these drops may be too large in size Experimental evidence indicates that under
to be stable. Drops of size 500 to 1000 m will a wide range of conditions the weight loss
come under this category. They do not remain of a material subjected to repeated
stable and hence, under the influence of impingements of liquid droplets varies with
aerodynamic forces and internal flashing they time as shown in Figure 1. It is shown in that
disintegrate quickly. These drops of two for some period of time the weight loss is
different diameters—one with smaller insignificant, this region is known as
diameter, which probably contain much of the ‘incubation period’. For some time after the
greater weight of water and have same incubation period the rate of weight loss is
velocity as that of steam and other with large nearly constant and the weight loss varies
diameter 100-200 micron or even more up to linearly with time, this region is designated
500 micron and with high relative velocity as the ‘linear rate erosion’ region. Past this
approach the moving blades. The drops of region the relationship between the weight
large diameter will go straight and hit the loss and the exposure time becomes more
moving blade, thereby causing erosion of complex and this region is referred as ‘final
blades. It is the normal components of impact erosion region’. In the present work only the
velocity against the blade which causes incubation period and the steady rate
erosion and the tangential component can be erosion region has been considered
ignored (Curtis and Dorey, 1989). (Byeong et al., 2003).

Figure 1: Erosion Model Showing Different Erosion Region

Mass Loss per Unit Area, m

Number of Impacts per Unit Area, n

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

The number of impacts per unit area at the Figure 2: Droplet Impingements
end of incubation period is designated by ni on Uncoated Composite Material
and at the end of linear rate erosion region by
nf. For convenience, we assume that the
erosion is uniform across the entire surface
area and replace the total weight loss of the
material with the mass loss per unit area ‘m’
and ‘n’ as the time parameter. The parameters
‘m’ and ‘n’ are represented in Figure 1.
According to this the mass loss is specified
by the expressions:
m = 0, n < ni Wave reflections will be neglected in
m = (n – ni), ni < n < nf uncoated composites and in the substrate of
coated composites. Composite materials,
The material loss ‘m’ produced by a certain which are unable to withstand the damage
number of impacts ‘n’ can be calculated once caused by rain impact, can frequently be
the incubation period n i and the rate of protected and their usefulness extended by a
subsequent mass loss (as characterized by protective layer of homogeneous material
the slope ) are known. The Figure 1 shows, coating. However, the coating cannot be
the different regimes of erosion, which are selected randomly. Coatings provide optimum
important for analysis of steam turbine blades. protection only if they are made of the proper
Therefore, the problem is to determine the material and are of the proper thickness.
parameters ni,  and nf.
The material to be studied is a fiber
EROSION OF COMPOSITE reinforced substrate hs (Boron-Epoxy) covered
MATERIALS by a single layer of coating (Co-Cr alloy) of the
coating thickness hc, as shown in Figure 3.
Composite materials have been receiving
ever-wider application due to their high Figure 3: Droplet Impingements
strength-to-weight ratio, good magnetic and on Coated Composite Material
optical properties and satisfactory
performance at elevated temperatures. In
order to utilize the full capability of composite
materials, the response of composite
materials to liquid droplet erosion is analyzed
by using mathematical relations. Fiber-
reinforced composite material composed of
unidirectional filaments embedded in a matrix
as shown in Figure 2, which is covered by a
coating made of a homogeneous material.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

Composite materials may be constructed Impact pressure at surface of substrate is

in different ways. The erosion of composites given by:
under study in which:
 LCLV cos 
P  1000 …(2)
• Fibers are randomly distributed. 1   LCL  SCS

• Fibers are not continuous. Velocity of steam turbine blade is given by:
• Fibers are parallel to the surface.  DN
V  m / sec …(3)
• There is a perfect bond between the matrix 60
and the fibers and, in case of coated Number of droplets per unit volume of
composites, between the coating and the steam is given by
6  10 9
In this the composite as homogeneous, we q drplets / m 3 steam …(4)
d 3

are neglecting the effect of microstructure on

the erosion phenomenon. Number of impacts per unit area during the
incubation period on the surface of substrate
Most uncoated composites have relatively
material is given by:
poor resistance to erosion and must be coated
for protection (Springer and Yang, 1975; and  8.9   S 
5 .7

ni   2   r  impacts / m 2 …(5)
Stanisa, 2003). d P 

RELATIONS USED IN Incubation time is given by:

ti  sec …(6)
Relations Used for Uncoated q V cos 
Composite Material (Matrix-Epoxy,
Rate of mass loss of the substrate material
is given by:
Following relationships are used for uncoated
composite materials to calculate the required P 
  73.3  10  6  s d 3   kg / impacts

incubation time and mass loss for the substrate  Sr 
material (Springer, 1976). …(7)
Strength of the uncoated composite material Mass loss of the substrate material is given
substrate is given by: by:

4 b  1 3  1 nt  t i  q  V  impact / m 2 …(8)
1  1  1 2 12 
Sr  um m        
Em  8  E11 E22  8  G12 E11  m   nt  ni  kg / m 2 …(9)
1 Relations Used for Coating
1  
2 1  1  2 12 1
 12       Material (Co-Cr alloy)
E11 4  E11 E 22 G12  
 Following relationships are used for coating
…(1) material to calculate the required incubation

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

time and mass loss for the coating material are the inputs for computer program for the
(Springer, 1976). prediction of erosion behavior of steam turbine
Impedance of the coating material is given by: blades.

Z    C g / cm 2 sec …(10) Table 1: Data Used in Analysis

Parameters Values
Stress at the liquid-coat interface at the
Speed of turbine (N) 3000 r.p.m.
instant of impact is given by:
Size of LP stage blades (D) 0.35, 0.40, 0.45, 0.50,
 C V cos  0.55 m
P  1000 L L N / m2 …(11)
1   LCL CCC Velocity of blades (V) 109.9, 125.66, 141.37,
157.08, 172.79 m/s
Strength of the coating material is given by: Steam quality (x) 0.96, 0.97, 0.98

4 uc bc  1
Steam temperature (T) 140 ºC, 150 ºC, 160 ºC
Sec   N / m2 …(12) Size of water droplets (d) 0.05, 0.075, 0.10, 0.125,
1  2 c 1  2k SC
0.15 mm
Number of impacts per unit area during the Thickness of Co-Cr alloy
coating (hc) 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 mm
incubation period on the surface of coating
material is given by: Properties of Coating and
5. 7
 8.9   S 
n ic   2   ec0  impacts / m 2 …(13) The material properties of coating (Co-Cr alloy)
d  
and substrate (Boron-Epoxy) are listed in
Incubation time is given by: Tables 2 and 3 respectively.
t ic  sec …(14) Table 2: Material Properties
q V cos  
of Co-Cr Alloy (Coating)
Rate of Mass loss of coating material is Ultimate tensile strength uc = 9.65  108 N/m2
given by: Endurance limit I = 4.83  108 N/m2
0  Poisson’s ratio c = 0.3
 c  73.3  10  6  c  d 3   kg / impact
S  Density c = 8230 kg/m3
 ec 
L = 1000 kg/m3
Speed of sound Cc = 5100 m/s
Mass loss of coating material is given by:
CL = 1463 m/s
ntc  t ic  q  V  impact / m 2
…(16) Modulus of elasticity E = 2.07  1011 N/m2
Constant bc = 20.9
mc   c ntc  nic  kg / m 2 …(17)
Table 3: Material Properties
DATA USED IN ANALYTICAL of Boron-Epoxy (Substrate)
STUDY Ultimate tensile strength of
matrix um = 5.79  107 N/m2
The following data’s are used in calculation of
Poisson’s ratio 12 = 0.22
erosion parameters for steam turbine blades
of composite material. The values in Table 1. Fiber content f = 0.63

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

Table 3 (Cont.) analysis the computed results have been

Density s = 2190 kg/m 3 plotted between various erosion parameters
L = 1000 kg/m3 like mass loss, incubation time, droplet
Speed of sound CS = 3327 m/s diameter, coating thickness of blade material
CL = 1463 m/s and dryness fraction of steam. The curves have
Modulus of elasticity Em = 2.21  1010 N/m2 been drawn for the uncoated and coated
E11 = 2.07  1011 N/m2 blades of boron-epoxy. For a realistic
E22 = 2.07  1010 N/m2 approach to meet the latest trend in the power
Modulus of rigidity G12 = 6.89  1009 N/m2 industry, boron-epoxy has been selected as
G23 = 5.52  1009 N/m2 substrate material while the coating material
Constant bm = 20.9 selected as cobalt-chromium alloy on boron-
epoxy. The results have been presented in
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION graphs from Figures 4 to 9 for the selected
The computer program has been made by substrate and coating material. The selected
using the above mentioned relationships for values of water droplet diameters (d) are 0.05,
uncoated and coated blades of boron-epoxy. 0.075, 0.10, 0.125 and 0.15 mm. The
By using the value of properties of boron-epoxy temperature of steam (T) is taken as 140 °C,
(as substrate) and cobalt-chromium alloy (as 150 °C and 160 °C. The dryness fraction of
coating material), results have been computed steam (x) is taken as 96%, 97% and 98%. For
in form of tables and graphs. In the present the coated blades, the coating thickness (hc)

Figure 4: Mass Loss vs. Incubation Time for Uncoated B-E Blades

Boron-Epoxy (Uncoated)
Mass Loss (kg)

Incubation Time (sec)

Note: T = 140 °C, x = 0.96, d = 0.05 mm and V = 109.96 m/s.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

values are 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 mm. The Figure 4 material. As the droplet diameter increases
shows the variation of mass loss and from 0.05 mm to 0.15 mm, the incubation time
incubation time for uncoated boron-epoxy also increases as velocity of blade changes
blades, with an increase in the velocity of from 109.96 to 172.79 m/sec.
blades from 109.96 m/sec to 172.79 m/sec, The Figure 7 shows the variation of
the incubation time is reduced and the mass incubation time and coating thickness at T =
loss of substrate material increases linearly 140 °C, x = 0.98, V = 125.66 m/sec, the
with an increase in incubation time. incubation time increases with an increase in
The Figure 5 shows the variation of mass the coating thickness. This figure clearly shows
loss and incubation time for boron-epoxy that as we are increasing the coating thickness
blades coated with Co-Cr alloy. There is a from 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm there is a very much
substantial increase in the incubation time reduction in the mass loss of the material.
and also the mass loss is much less, for The Figure 8 shows the variation of
coated blades. The incubation time also incubation time and dryness fraction for
increases with an increase in the coating uncoated and Co-Cr alloy coated boron-epoxy
thickness. blades at T = 140 °C, d = 0.05 mm, V = 109.96
The Figure 6 shows the variation of m/sec. The incubation time increases with an
incubation time and droplet diameter at T = increase in dryness fraction from 96% to 98%
140 °C, x = 0.96 for coated boron-epoxy blade and the rate of increase of incubation time is

Figure 5: Mass Loss vs. Incubation Time for Co-Cr Alloy Coated B-E Blades

Boron-Epoxy-CoCr (Coated)
Mass Loss (kg)

Incubation Time (sec)

Note: T = 140 °C, x = 0.96, d = 0.05 mm, V = 109.96 m/s and hc = 0.2 mm.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

Figure 6: Incubation Time vs. Droplet Diameter for Co-Cr Alloy Coated B-E Blades

Incubation Time vs. Droplet Diameter B-E-CoCr-02 (Coated)

Incubation Time (sec)

Droplet Diameter (mm)

Note: T = 140 °C and x = 0.96.

Figure 7: Incubation Time vs. Coating Thickness Co-Cr Coated B-E Blades

Incubation Time vs. Coating Thickness (B-E-CoCr)

Incubation Time (sec)

Coating Thickness hc (mm)

Note: T = 140 °C and x = 0.98.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

Figure 8: Incubation Time vs. Dryness Fraction for Uncoated and Coated B-E Blades

Incubation Time vs. Dryness Fraction (B-E, B-E-CoCr)

Incubation Time (sec)

Dryness Fraction (x)

Note: T = 140 °C, d = 0.05 mm and V = 109.96 m/s.

Figure 9: Mass Loss vs. Incubation Time for Uncoated and Coated B-E Blades

Incubation Time vs. Coating Thickness (B-E-CoCr)

Mass Loss (kg)

Incubation Time (sec)

Note: T = 140 °C, x = 0.96, d = 0.05 mm and V = 109.96 m/s.

Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012

being more for Co-Cr alloy coated boron- • Generally the incubation time increases
epoxy blades. with an increase in the drop diameter and
The Figure 9 shows the variation of mass also it decreases rapidly with an increase
loss and incubation time for uncoated and Co- in the impact velocity blades for the coated
Cr alloy coated boron-epoxy blades. The and uncoated boron-epoxy blade material.
conditions are T = 140 °C, x = 0.96, d = 0.05 • As the coating thickness increases, the
mm, V = 109.96 m/sec. As the coating incubation time increases and mass loss
thickness increases from 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm, reduces at different droplet diameters.
there is a very much reduction in mass loss of
• As the dryness fraction of steam increases
blade material takes place. At some instant in
from 96% to 98%, the incubation time
the bar chart, the incubation time is 4.41E42
increases at different layers of coating
and mass loss for uncoated boron- epoxy blade
thickness from 0.2 mm to 0.4 mm.
material is 3.09E13 and for the Co-Cr alloy
coated boron-epoxy blades the values of mass • Bar chart clearly shows that the incubation
loss are 1.73E13, 8.85E12 and 5.84E12 for time increases and mass loss reduces, as
coating thickness of 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mm the coating thickness increases from 0.2 to
respectively. So the bar chart clearly shows that 0.4 mm and the mass loss is maximum in
by applying the coating of Co-Cr alloy on case of uncoated boron-epoxy blade
boron-epoxy blades, an appreciable reduction material.
in mass loss of material takes place. • The erosion model used in the present
CONCLUSION analysis can be used for engineering
purpose, such as new design of last stage
The erosion model has been successfully used
rotor blades, selection of rotor blade base
to predict the liquid droplet erosion of last stage
material and the prediction of life
rotor blades operated in practical steam turbine.
expectancy of commercially operated rotor
In the present work, erosion characteristics of
blades operated in wet region.
uncoated and Co-Cr alloy coated boron-epoxy
blades in the last stage of turbine have been REFERENCES
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Int. J. Mech. Eng. & Rob. Res. 2012 Sandeep Soni, 2012


A – Area of the surface [m2]

b – Constant for substrate material [–]
Cs – Velocity of sound in substrate material [ms–1]
CL – Velocity of sound in liquid material [ms–1]
Cc – Velocity of sound in coating material [ms–1]
d – Droplet diameter [mm]
D – Rotor blade dia. [m]
E – Young’s modulus [Nm –1]
E11 – Longitudinal young’s modulus [Nm–2]
E22 – Transverse young’s modulus [Nm–2]
G12 – Longitudinal shear modulus [Nm–2]
G23 – Transverse shear modulus [Nm–2]
hc – Thickness of coating material [mm]
m – Mass loss/unit area [kg m–2]
n – Number of impacts per unit area [impact m–2]
ni – Number of impacts per unit area during the incubation period [impact m–2]
nf – Number of impacts per unit area prior to final erosion region [impact m–2]
P – Impact pressure [Nm–2]
q – Number of droplets per unit volume of steam [droplets m–3]
Sr – Strength for uncoated composite [Nm–2]
Sec – Strength for the coating [Nm–2]
ti – Incubation time [sec]
u – Ultimate tensile strength for substrate material [Nm–2]
I – Endurance limit [Nm–2]
V – Relative velocity between surface and impacting droplet [ms–1]
x – Steam quality [%]
Z – Impedance [g.s cm–2]
 – Rate of mass loss [kg impact–1]
 – Poisson’s ratio for substrate material [–]
 – Angle of impact [0]
L – Density of liquid [kg m–3]
s – Density of substrate material [kg m–3]
c – Density of coating material [kg m–3]