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Edvard Höfler1, Janez Gale2, Anton Bergant2
Litostroj Power, d.o.o, retired
Litostroj Power, d.o.o, Ljubljana, Slovenia
E-mail: edvard.hoefler@amis.net; janez.gale@litostrojpower.eu; anton.bergant@litostrojpower.eu

Received July 2010, Accepted February 2011

No. 10-CSME-58, E.I.C. Accession 3221

The paper presents a procedure for hydraulic design and analysis of the blade geometry of a
high specific speed runner of the Saxo-type double-regulated vertical axial turbine. The
meridional through-flow in the passage from the conical guide vane apparatus to the draft-tube
elbow is designed by a streamline curvature method (SCM). To validate the design method and
predictions and to investigate the design duty point and a number of off-design operating
regimes, an extensive CFD simulation inside the entire turbine water-passage is performed. The
flow patterns downstream the guide vane apparatus and the runner exit flow are analyzed. The
focus of the analysis is on distribution of the angular momentum alongside the turbine, as well
as on its impact on the flow around the runner blades. The SCM design procedure presented in
the paper proves to be a robust and accurate tool for the runner blade row design.

Keywords: hydraulic turbine; streamlines curvature method; runner design; CFD.



Cet article présente un procédé de conception et d’analyse hydrauliques applicable à la
palissade d’une roue à vitesse spécifique élevée dans le cas d’une turbine axiale verticale à
double réglage de type Saxo. Selon ce procédé, d’abord, l’écoulement méridien entre le
distributeur conique et le coude d’aspirateur est conçu par la méthode de courbure des lignes de
courant (MCLC). Ensuite, pour confirmer les résultats de cette méthode et les prédictions et
pour examiner les points de fonctionnement de la turbine en charges nominale et partielles, nous
faisons une simulation MFN approfondie de l’intérieur de l’ensemble du passage d’eau; nous
étudions la configuration des écoulements en aval du distributeur et à la sortie de la roue,
notamment la distribution du moment angulaire le long de la turbine et l’influence de ce
moment sur l’écoulement autour des pales. La MLCL présentée dans l’article se révéla un outil
fiable et précis de conception des pales de roue.

Mots-clés : turbine hydraulique; méthode de courbure des lignes de courant; conception de

roue; MFN.

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NOMENCLATURE s course on the streamsurface
A area (m2) t blade or vane spacing (m), or
a0 dimensionless opening of the pitch (m)
guide vanes u, U blade speed (m s21)
A0 opening of the guide vanes (m) w relative velocity (m s21)
B width (m) x coordinate of the mapping
c absolute velocity (m s21) plane
cd dissipation coefficient y coordinate of the mapping
Cp pressure coefficient plane
d thickness (m) z axial coordinate, axis of rota-
D diameter (m) tion (m)
Dx measuring sphere diameter of Z number of blades, or vanes
the guide apparatus (m) Greek symbols
E total specific energy (m2 s22)
Fd dissipation force (N kg21) b relative flow angle, measured
g acceleration due to gravity from the circumferential direc-
(m s22) tion (rad)
G function (m21) d relative flow deviation angle
H turbine net head (m) (rad)
I rothalpy (m2 s22) e blade lean angle (rad)
i streamline label w stream surface pitch angle
j QO-line label (rad)
kx mapping constant W function, or quantity
K function (m s21) g efficiency
L function i incidence angle (rad)
Ls length of the profile camber Q blade-wrapping angle (rad), or
(m) discharge number
m distance along the meridional q swirl angle (rad)
direction (m) ns specific speed
m* dimensionless distance along h circumferential coordinate
the meridional direction (rad)
n speed of rotation (min21) p Ludolf ’s number
nq, ns specific speed (min21) r fluid density (kg m23)
N function (s21) V angular speed (rad s21)
p static pressure (Pa) y angle between the meridional
P power (W) direction and QO (rad), or
q distance along the quasi- energy number
orthogonal line (m) Subscripts
qm mass flowrate (kg s21) 2 runner inlet
Q volume flowrate (m3 s21) 3 runner outlet
r radius (m) av average
Rc radius of the streamline curva- d dissipation
ture (m) i index of the streamline
Rcone radius of the cone describing j index of the QO-line
the guide apparatus (m) gv guide vane

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h hub u, h circumfential - tangential com-
loss loss ponent
m meridional component Abbreviations
p pressure side LE leading edge
r radial component PS pressure side
rb runner blade QO quasi-orthogonal line
ref reference value SS suction side
s suction side TE trailing edge

The paper investigates a special type of the double-regulated vertical axial turbine equipped
with the Kaplan runner. In North America, the turbine is known as the Saxo-type turbine (S axial
turbine) because of its similarities with the S-type turbine. Figure 1 shows a typical turbine layout
with two alternative intake structures. A compact elbow with stay vanes located downstream the
intake provides a uniform flow field at the entrance of the conical guide vane apparatus designed
to generate a sufficient swirl at the entrance to the runner. The conical guide vane apparatus is
typical for the bulb-type turbines, whereas the runner with the elbowed-draft tube is typical for
the Kaplan turbines. Due to their compact design, the Saxo-type turbines are suitable for net
heads from some metres up to more than 30 metres covering the range of both the bulb-and the
Kaplan turbines. This type of the turbine has been accepted as an alternative to the small classical
Kaplan turbines in a number of industrial projects (Höfler [1], Gale et al. [2]).
Early development in the Saxo-type turbines revealed that the hydraulic design of the turbine
should treat the conical distributor, runner and draft tube with an elbow as a single domain [3].

Fig. 1. Typical layout of the Saxo-type turbine with an alternative intake with a penstock.

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The same principle applies also to model tests [4] because only a homologous model of the
complete water passage provides accurate data on the turbine performance characteristics.
The objective of the paper is to present development and design of a high-specific speed four-
blade Saxo turbine on the basis of the layout of the existing medium-specific speed five-blade
turbine. The hydraulic shape of the intake structure, conical guide vane apparatus and draft
tube with an elbow of the new high-specific speed turbine are assumed to be the same as the
ones of the existing medium-specific speed turbine, thus making the new element to be
developed as a four-blade runner. The turbine was designed to have its best efficiency at the
duty point with the characteristic discharge number Q 5 0.210 and energy number y 5 0.270
with the characteristic dimensionless numbers are defined as follows:

4Q 2E
Q~ y~ ð1Þ
pD2 U U2

where U 5 V.D/2 is the runner tip speed, V is the angular speed and the corresponding specific
speed is ns 5 1.224 (nq 5 193 min21 or ns 5 705 min21). Note that there are several definitions
for the specific speed:

Q1=2 Q1=2 P1=2

ns ~ nq ~n ns ~n ð2Þ
y3=4 H 3=4 H 5=4

where n is the number of the runner rotations per minute, H 5 E/g is the net head in metres, E is
the specific energy, and P is the hydraulic power in horsepower units.
The runner blade design was performed for a turbine in the model scale with the following
characteristic parameters:
- turbine rotational speed: n 5 1200 min21
- runner reference diameter: D 5 350 mm
- hub diameter: Dh 5 133 mm
- number of guide vanes: Zgv 5 16
- number of runner blades: Zrb 5 4
Initially, four different blade shapes were designed by using the streamline curvature method
(SCM). They were then thoroughly analysed with the aid of commercial computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) tools. The criteria used in the hydraulic design were the turbine efficiency and
cavitational characteristics.
The paper starts by presenting concepts of SCM used in the basic design of the SAXO-type
turbine runner blade row. To follow is a brief outline on the use of the CFD code in the viscous
flow analysis of the SAXO-type turbine. The main focus of the paper is on investigation of the
flow characteristics within the SAXO turbine blade row and on a comparison of the SCM and
CFD results. Design guidelines are given for hydraulically favourable blade shapes. The results
of the blade with the best turbine performance characteristics are presented in the paper.


The streamline curvature method (SCM) is a traditional method for the prediction of a flow
field in turbomachinery. The method is widely used in development of different types of the

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turbomachinery and is regarded as an appropriate tool in designing the basic fluid passage
shapes of the turbomachine components. The final selection of the best aero-hydraulics is based
on numerical simulations using a viscous fluid flow solver (CFD) and model testing (for
example [5]). The SCM is suitable for blade design in the best efficiency point (design duty
point), flow analysis at off-design conditions and analysis of predicted aero-hydraulic shapes.
The SCM presented in this paper is based on a generalized equation of the radial equilibrium
and a procedure known as »throughflow method analysis«. The theoretical background of the
method and the method of solution were developed by Smith [6], followed by Novak [7], Novak
and Hearsey [8] and Wilkinson [9] who systematized the computing approach. Wennerstrom
[10] made an accurate account of the blade and dissipation forces on the meridional flow field.
His approach was then used by Bohn and Kim [11], Casey and Roth [12] and Casey and
Robinson [13]. A more recent overview on the structure of SCM was given by Cumpsty [14] and
Schobeiri [15]. The latest paper of Templalexis et al. [16] (dealing with axial compressors) shows
that the developments in this area are still in progress. Despite the widespread prevalence of the
SCM, in fact all published studies are related to the compressible fluid turbines and
compressors. Rare are readings concerning turbopumps for incompressible fluid. In particular,
published applications of the SCM on the hydraulic turbines are indeed very rare and this paper
is aiming to fill the gap.
Bajd [17] developed the SCM for design of Francis turbines. Hothersall and Huntsman [18]
briefly introduced the SCM as a preliminary design tool for hydraulic turbines. Höfler et al. [3]
compared results obtained with a viscous fluid flow solver and SCM; the Wennerstrom’s
approach [10] was used in the SCM. A similar and upgraded method and code for the analysis
of meridional flow field in the guide vane cascade and the design of new runner blades of the
vertical tubular hydraulic turbine is presented in this paper.
The SCM assumes stationary axisymmetrical flow at the meridional flow surface between the
hub and the shroud of the turbine. In the vaneless domain, the flow properties are averaged at
the circumference. At the blade-to-blade surface, the flow properties are treated at the
streamline dividing the flow field between two blades. The approach is the same for the fixed
and the rotating blade rows.

2.1 Equation of the Radial Equilibrium

The SCM method is based on a differential equation for the radial equilibrium describing
variations in the meridional component of absolute velocity cm along curved coordinate q.
Coordinate q (quasi-orthogonal QO) is arbitrary and almost perpendicular to the meridional
streamlines. The selected coordinate system (r-h-z) is fixed in the space as shown in Fig. 2. The
equation of radial equilibrium for the incompressible fluid is given as [10]:

dcm dE cu d ðrcu Þ c2m Lcm cm Lðrcu Þ

cm ~ { z sinyzcm cosyz tan ezFd ð3Þ
dq dq r dq Rc Lm r Lm

where E is the total specific energy, cu is the circumferential component of the absolute velocity,
y is the angle between meridional direction and QO-line, e is the blade lean angle, Rc is the
radius of the streamline curvature and Fd is the dissipation force. The geometric parameters are
depicted in Fig. 2.
The key unknown is meridional velocity cm along the QO-line from the hub A to the shroud B
(Fig. 2). The radial equilibrium equation is solved along the QO at distinct nodes defined by

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Fig. 2. Coordinate system and definition of geometry.

crossing the QO-lines and meridional streamlines whose location is adjusted to preserve partial
discharge balance until a converged solution is obtained.
Herein, the system of equations to be solved includes the following equations: (i) the
continuity equation, (ii) the energy equation (Euler’s turbomachinery equation), and (iii) the
momentum law for fluid on mean flow surface between the blades, Eq. (3), that is valid along
the QO-line. The mean stream surface in the blade row approximately follows the blade camber

2.2. Solving the Equation of the Radial Equilibrium

Bajd [17] and Höfler et al. [19] solved the equation of the radial equilibrium, Eq. (3), in an
analytical manner. The equation is integrated along each QO-curve (j 5 const) introducing
special solution functions. Equation (3) is rearranged as follows:

zG ðqÞcm ~N ðq,cu ,cm Þ ð4Þ

where function G involves gradients of meridional velocities and terms describing geometry of
coordinates q and m,

siny cosy Lcm

G ðqÞ~{ { ð5Þ
Rc cm Lm

while function N incorporates terms describing the shape of streamlines and energy conversion:

1 dE cu d ðrcu Þ 1 Lðrcu Þ 1
N ðq,cu ,cm Þ~ { z tan ez Fd ð6Þ
cm dq cm rdq r Lm cm

Equation (4) is a quasi-linear ordinary differential equation with the following solution at
each iteration step along the line j 5 const:

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cm ðqÞ~K ðqÞzLðqÞ:cm ð0Þ ð7Þ

with cm(0) defined at the hub (q 5 0) and function L(q) being the solution of the homogeneous
2 3
LðqÞ~exp4{ G ðqÞ:dq5 ð8Þ

Particular solution K(q) of non-homogeneous equation is:

8 2q 39
ðq < ð =
K ðqÞ~LðqÞ: N ðq,cm Þ:exp4 G ðqÞ:dq5 :dq ð9Þ
: ;
0 0

Equation (4) is solved simultaneously with the continuity equation to account for the partial
discharge balance along each QO-line:

Q~2p r:cm :siny:ð1{drb =tÞ:dq ð10Þ

Term (1 2 drb /t) , 1 represents the flow blockage, caused by the actual blade thickness on
the flow section; drb is the blade thickness in the circumferential direction and t is the blade
spacing, both accounted for the calculating node. The proposed method for calculation of the
meridional velocities along each QO-line proved to be numerically efficient and stable. To close
the system of equations, two additional equations are needed to describe the relation between
tangential velocity cu and meridional velocity cm, and static pressure p and velocity c. Both
closure relations depend on the stator or rotor domain and position (i, j) inside the calculating

2.3. Flow-field Downstream the Guide Vanes

A particularity of the conical guide vane apparatus in comparison to the cylindrical one,
which is traditionally used for the Francis and Kaplan turbines, is a combined swirl-flow field
including free and forced vortex components. The streamlines close to the shroud gain a larger
angular momentum than the streamlines closer to the turbine hub. Figure 3 depicts the
geometry of the conical guide vane apparatus. The dimensionless guide vane opening is given
with the below conventional equation:

A0 :Zgv
a0 ~ ð11Þ

where Dx represents the characteristic diameter of the guide vane sphere at which opening A0
(line C-D in Fig. 3) has to be measured and Zgv is the number of the guide vanes. An important

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Fig. 3. Conical guide vane apparatus: its geometry and swirl generation.

quantity to be considered is swirl angle q. The swirl angle is directly given with distributor
dimensionless opening a0 for a particular guide vane layout; moreover, it is practically the same
along the full span of the guide vane, and the predicted function q 5 q(a0) holds for all
streamlines under consideration (for further information see [3]).
The change in the angular momentum through the runner blade row can be defined with the
Euler’s turbine equation:
g23 :E~V ðrcu Þ2 {ðrcu Þ3 ð12Þ

where g23 is the total turbine efficiency between sections 2 and 3 (Fig. 4), E is the total specific
energy of the fluid flow at the design point, and ðrcu Þ2 and ðrcu Þ3 are the flow averaged angular
momenta over sections 2 and 3, respectively.

2.4 Geometry Description in the Meridional Cross Section

To evaluate the meridional velocities in the computational domain, projection of the
streamlines in the meridional cross-section at each calculating node and at each iteration needs
to be known. The computational grid in the meridional cross section is composed of meridional
streamlines m and QO-lines in Fig. 4. The QO-lines may be arbitrary curves. However, it is
recommended that the QO-lines at the blade inlet and at the blade outlet coincide with the
meridional projections of the actual blade inlet and outlet edges. The same principle applies to
the stay vanes and guide vanes.
The initial m-QO grid is approximated. In the iteration procedure, the shape of the
streamlines is modified along the QO-lines to preserve mass conservation. The QO-lines are
approximated as parabolas of the third order. The streamlines, hub and shroud contours are
approximated with segments as quadratic parabolas [12, 19].
The main parameters describing the runner blade camber surface are depicted in Fig. 4.
Coordinates of calculating nodes rij, hij and zij are defined in the cylindrical coordinate system.
An important parameter defining the length of the blade in the direction of a relative flow is
wrapping angle Q. The wrapping angle may be changed during calculation according to the
local load conditions at each iteration. The leading edge is defined with relative displacement
angle DQi.

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Fig. 4. Meridional cross-section of the turbine and a grid of streamlines m and QO-lines.

2.5 Rotational Stream Surface

The next step in the blade design is transformation of the m2h grid laying on the rotational
surface to the x–y plane. The transformation is known as a conformal mapping and is given
with the following expressions:

ðq ðq ð3
1 dm 1 dm
x~ , y~ dh, and kx ~ ð13Þ
kx r kx r
2 2 2

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Figure 5 shows a streamline and a blade profile mapped into a plane. The geometry of the
blade is governed by the change in angular momentum @(r.cu)/@m along the meridional
streamline. The shape of the relative streamline from the inlet to the outlet can be approximated
as a power series of the fourth order:

y~ ai xii ð14Þ

In this manner, the components of absolute velocity c and the angular momentum:
ðrcu Þ~r rV{ ð15Þ
can be predicted at each calculating station.
The next step is to define the profile camber line which is different from the relative
streamline due to local flow deviations accounted for with incidence angle i and outflow
deviation angle d in Fig. 5. The camber surface that is finally defined with the r2h2z grid in
Fig. 4 is thickened in order to obtain an actual hydrodynamic profile along the streamline (j 5
const). At each calculating node, the normal to the stream surface is defined with an added
blade thickness. In our case, the blade profile at the hub follows the NACA 63A standard
profile with a thicker outlet edge. At the shroud, the blade profile is more uniform (British C4)
thus increasing the blade stiffness.
Velocity and pressure at the rotational stream surface
The velocity and pressure distribution along the blade are very important for the blade
design. The change in flow velocity w in circumferential direction h (blade-to-blade surface
m2h, Fig. 6) may be approximated as a vortex-free or potential flow at the rotational stream
surface under consideration.

Fig. 5. Streamline and blade profile mapped into a plane; point q is a calculating node and p and r
are adjacent nodes.

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Fig. 6. Flow in the blade-to-blade stream surface and the corresponding velocity triangle.

The final equation of velocity deviation Dw in the pitch direction of the blade passage is:
p Zrb db Lðrcu Þ
Dw~{ 1{ sin b ð16Þ
Zrb 2pr Lm

where Dw 5 (ws – wp)/2 is the difference in the average relative velocity, Zrb is the number of
blades, db is the blade thickness in the circumferential direction, b is the relative flow angle and
L(r.cu)/Lm is the change in the angular momentum along the meridional streamline.
The pressure difference Dp 5 pp – ps , known as the blade pressure jump, at an assumed
constant total pressure in circumferential direction h at a constant radius r 5 const is:
2p Zrb db Lðrcu Þ
Dp~{r 1{ wm ð17Þ
Zrb 2pr Lm

where r is the fluid density and wm is the meridional velocity.

2.6 Energy losses

Energy losses (profile losses) DEd in the blade channels are estimated according to the models
developed by Denton [20] and his below equation in which for hydraulically smooth runner
blade friction losses are accounted for:
DEd ~ cd BLs w3 d ðs=Ls Þ ð18Þ
DQ 0

where DQ is the partial turbine discharge, cd is the dissipation coefficient (in this study it is
assumed constant cd 5 0.002); B is the wetted width, Ls is the wetted profile length and w is the
relative velocity. The same principle is used in predicting the losses in turbine stationary parts.
Losses DEd are then used to predict dissipation force Fd appearing in Eqs. (3) and (6). Casey and

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Roth [12] developed an improved equation for the dissipation force including effects of the
actual flow angles:

Fd ~ cosy sin2 bztane sinb cosb ð19Þ

Besides the friction forces, there are also the mixing losses in the wake downstream the
trailing edge (Denton [20]) considered in the analysis; an example of the mixing losses in a
conical guide vane apparatus is given by Höfler et al. [3].

2.7 Summary of the Design Procedure

Figure 7 shows a flow diagram of the runner blading design procedure. The numerical
algorithm is based on a solution of equations including continuity Eq. (10), energy Eq. (12)
(Euler’s turbine equation) and Eq. (3) for the radial equilibrium valid along the QO-line as
explained above.


To support and verify the SCM-based blade design an extensive Computational Fluid
Dynamics (CFD) simulation was performed inside the entire turbine water-passage system
using the commercial computer code ANSYS CFX 11.0 [21]. Keck and Sick [22] performed an
excellent review of the main steps in the application of the CFD in the design of hydraulic
turbines and the breakthroughs that were made in the last decades. The CFD computer code
calculates flow field inside the computational domain by using the numerical solution of the
Navier-Stokes system of equations. The governing equations in conservative form are
numerically solved for each discrete control volume within the computational domain using
finite volume method. More details on numerical models and solvers behind the CFD codes can
be found in references [23, 24].
The flow analysis in the present study was undertaken in two steps: (1) CFD code validation
using an existing five-blade SAXO turbine and (2) CFD analysis of a new four-blade SAXO
turbine. In the first step, the existing five-blade SAXO turbine was modelled and the results
were compared to the available results of the extensive model testing. The whole operating
range was under observation, which means that propeller diagrams at constant runner blade
opening were constructed for runner blade angles ranging from 4u to 28u. Then the hill chart
was made and compared to the hill chart of the model testing. The calculation settings and
initial and boundary conditions had been adjusted in a way that overall agreement between
CFD and model hill chart was less than 0.5 % in proximity of the best efficiency point and less
than 1 % over the whole remaining operating range. In the second step, the validated
computational model was applied in the development of the four-blade SAXO turbine by
replacing the five-blade runner with the newly developed four-blade runner. The hydraulic
shape of all other parts of the turbine flow-passage system (intake, elbow, guide vanes and draft
tube) remained the same. The results of the second step are presented and discussed in this
Figure 8 shows the computational domain of the entire SAXO turbine water passage applied
in the second step, which included the intake, the elbow with guide plates, the vertical shaft, the
stay vanes and conical guide vane apparatus, the rotating four-blade runner, and the draft tube.
The size of the computational domain was scaled to the model turbine size with a runner

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Fig. 7. Flow diagram of the runner blading design procedure.

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Fig. 8. Computational domain of the SAXO-type turbine model.

reference diameter of D 5 350 mm. The computational domain was assembled from several
subdomains, which were meshed using the structured HEXA type mesh. However, the elbow
with guide plates and the runner used the unstructured TETRA type mesh. The general grid
interface (GGI) was applied at subdomain interfaces and Frozen rotor option for rotating
subdomains. The grid refinement study was performed and mesh with about 3.106
computational volumes for entire SAXO turbine water passage was selected as optimal
(CPU time, RAM memory, convergence, accuracy of the results). All main mesh quality
parameters were checked (Determinant 26262, Angle, Warpage etc.) and the y+ parameter in
the main water-passage sections spanned from 15 to 160.
The computational domain was filled with single-phase water, the reference pressure at the
top of the outlet cross-section was pref 5 0 Pa. The flow was not buoyant; the k-e based Shear-
Stress-Transport model (SST) with automatic wall functions was applied. The mass flow rate
boundary condition was defined at the intake and the static pressure for entrainment at the
outlet. Walls of the water passage were treated as walls without slip. The steady state analysis
was performed and the convergence criterion targeted was RMS , 1025. The CFD results were
used to study the characteristic flow behaviour in the core part of the turbine and to compare
and verify hydraulic design of the turbine based on the SCM method. Fig. 9 shows turbine hill
chart as a function of dimensionless energy number and dimensionless discharge number. Note
that the name B14-A1.8-37 in the legend stands for the case with a runner blade angle of bb 5
140, with a dimensionless guide vane opening of a0 5 1.8, and discharge of Q 5 0.37 m3 s21.


The flow characteristics within the SAXO turbine blade row and the SCM and CFD
comparison results were investigated. Local quantities W(r, h, z) change over the considered
curve, cross-section or plane. The mass-averaged value of the related quantity W on the curve or
cross-section was obtained by integrating over the curve or cross-section, respectively:

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Fig. 9. Position of simulation points in the discharge – energy hill chart.

~~ 1
W W(r,h,z)dqm ð20Þ

4.1 Flow Conditions Downstream the Guide Vanes - Surface A in Fig. 4

The flow field downstream the conical guide vane row (surface A in Fig. 4) depends on
dimensionless guide vane opening a0 and discharge Q. Fig. 10 shows analysis results.
Meridional component cm is divided with average discharge velocity cav 5 Q/AA and the
angular momentum is divided with reference momentum (R.U)ref, where R 5 0.175 m is the
runner radius and U is the peripheral speed at this radius. Each value is circular and mass-
averaged. The CFD-simulated case that corresponds to the SCM design point is the case
labelled with B14-A1.8-37. The shape of the meridional velocity and normalized angular
momentum curves for the simulated and design operating point is identical except in the area
close to the wall affected by wall friction and persistent forces.

4.2 Conditions Downstream the Runner 2 Plane C in Fig. 4

Figure 11 shows that the velocity relation and the normalized angular momentum are
strongly related to the considered operating point. Although the simulated operating points lay
close to the turbine BEP, the guide vane opening strongly affects intensity and direction of the

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Fig. 10. Flow and energy conditions at the surface downstream the guide vane apparatus.

departure swirl (cu/cm). The SCM design conditions in plane C were confirmed with the CFD
simulation at the B14-A1.8-37 operating point.

4.3 Distribution of the Angular Momentum

As already mentioned above, the guide vanes generate a swirl giving rise to a flow field with
non-uniform total energy E at a span of the passage. This can also be seen from Fig. 10(b)
showing distribution of normalized angular momentum (r.cu). Actually, what we are searching
is distribution of the angular momentum along the entire investigated turbine water passage.
Figures 12(a–b) show a normalized angular momentum and a derivative of the angular
momentum along meridional streamline at three fractions of the passage height (span 0.1, 0.5
and 0.9).
Figure 12(a) shows distribution of a circumferentially averaged angular momentum alongside
the water passage in the meridional direction. The angular momentum and the meridional
length are normalized (the runner blade leading edge: mLE* 5 0, the runner blade trailing edge:
mTE* 5 1). The drop in the angular momentum through the runner directly shows the hydraulic
energy transferring from the water to the runner blading, and the derivative of the angular
momentum Fig. 12(b) shows the intensity of the momentum change along the streamline. The
derivative at the span 5 0.9 (close to the shroud) is interesting for showing that depreciation of
the swirl starts before it reaches the leading edge of the blades and it gets the lowest values
compared to other span sections.

4.4 Flow Around the Runner Blade

Figure 13 presents the flow around the runner blade at three typical sections for the B14-
A1.8-37 case. The velocity vectors show a hydraulically perfect flow into the blade and along
the blade for more than 80 % of the passage span. The last section near the shroud (span 5 0.9)
is hydraulically less ideal, particularly at higher velocities on the suction side just after the
leading edge. However, this is negligible as it is evident that there is no aware streamline
stagnation or flow separation.
Another interesting analysis of the flow around the runner blade was made by defining the
layer around the blade at an offset distance of 0.4 mm. At this layer, we were looking for
components of a relative velocity in the circumferential h and axial z direction. The radial

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Fig. 11. Flow and energy conditions at plane C downstream the runner.

component of velocity wr indicates exchanges in the water passage channel (contracting or

spreading) or local to the changes in the blade-surface geometry. Each larger discontinuity of
the radial velocity directly implies a flow-field defect. Figure 14 shows distribution of the radial
velocity component on the layer. At the pressure side, the discontinuity is evident near the
leading edge close to the hub, but a much stronger radial flow is arising on the last third of the
blade inlet part close to the shroud. In both cases, the layer flow is directed toward the shroud.
In the first case, the blade surface around the hub is most oriented toward the shroud thus the
flow away from the hub. The other parts of the pressure side surface generally exhibit a circular
flow. At the suction side, one can see the velocity vectors pointed inward flow. This
phenomenon cannot be interpreted as a separated layer, because it would be advisable to
centrifuge a blocking layer.
The influence of the observed phenomenon was further investigated. Figure 15 shows the
flow field of one runner blade - the situation for other three blades is identical. The first
impression suggests that the relative flow is generally rotational and without the local stops,
pointing to the trace of the vortices, which could be sourcing upstreams in the blade channel.
Obviously, the radial component of relative flow in the boundary layer along the blade leading
edge, which is shown in Fig. 14, provides very low intensity that quickly dissipates and it has no
detectable effect on the flow leaving the runner.

4.5 Runner Blade Loading

The static pressure coefficient is defined with the following equation:
Cp ~ ð21Þ

where pref and wref are the pressure and relative velocity at the reference point located in the
middle of the exiting part of the blade-to-blade channel at the radius r 5 125.5 mm (see Fig. 4).
The CFD analysis yields the flow field for the whole runner. To eliminate possible

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Fig. 12. Distribution of circumferentially averaged angular momentum alongside the turbine

non-homogeneity of the flow, the results presented herein (i.e. values pref and wref) for one blade
were averaged over all the four blades. The results are presented in Fig. 16.
One of the basic objectives of our investigation was to determine the pressure load on the
runner blade. Figure 17 shows the pressure distribution over the pressure and suction side of the
blade at typical cross-sections. The highest pressure appears at the inlet part of the profile with
the local and relative stagnation pressure being equal. The highest under pressure appears at the
outside of the blade and close to the leading edge. These results confirm other results obtained
with our analysis of the angular momentum gradient Fig. 12(b) and Eq. (17) which relates the

Fig. 13. Flow at the blade-to-blade stream surface; velocity vectors (case B14-A1.8-37). Span 5 0.1.
Span 5 0.5. Span 5 0.9.

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Fig. 14. Radial component of the relative velocity on a layer 0.4 mm off the blade surface (case B14-
A1.8-37). (a) Blade pressure side. (b) Blade suction side.

Fig. 15. Control plane close to the runner blade trailing edge; the relative velocity vectors projected
into the axial plane (case B14-A1.8-37).

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Fig. 16. Decrease in the circumferentially averaged static pressure coefficient through the runner

angular momentum derivative and the pressure jump. The SCM predicted pressures are in good
agreement with the CFD simulated pressures over 75 % of the blade surfaces, while on the rest
of the surfaces, discrepancies are larger due to a slightly misguided flow-field just before the
runner blades leading edge.

4.6 Losses in the Runner

In our consideration of the flow-field through the rotor, the concept of total specific energy,
or the constant rothalpy, in the rotating coordinate system was applied [25]. The rothalpy for
the steady-state flow of non-viscous and non-compressible fluid is given as:

p w2 u 2
I~ z { ~const ð22Þ
r 2 2

The rothalpy along the streamline in an ideal fluid through the rotor is constant. The wall
friction losses due to wall friction and turbulent mixing in viscous flow appear as the loss of the
static pressure p. Eq. (22) for the viscous fluid is therefore modified by using energy loss term
DEloss to account for losses:

IzDEloss ~const ð23Þ

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Fig. 17. Loading of the runner blade sections – expressed with a static pressure coefficient.

Figure 18 shows losses due to a process taking place in the viscous fluid. The two curves
indicate the location of the leading and trailing edge of the runner blade. As the pressure losses
are not uniform in the pitch direction (coordinate h), depending on the velocity and the
streamline location on the blade-to-blade channel, one must calculate a mass-averaged rothalpy
in the circumferential direction (see Fig. 18). In the section before the blade row, the rothalpy
evenly reduces from the hub to the shroud. If the guide vanes would generate potential swirl and
a constant meridional velocity, then the rothalpy before the runner in the radial direction would
be almost constant. The first larger rothalpy drop appears at the leading edge. The iso-lines with
a low rothalpy are then gradually moved away from the shroud. The second larger rothalpy
drop appears due to the flow mixing inside the blade wake. The pressure loss process near the
hub is similar but less intense. Generally speaking, the largest source of the pressure loss is in the
region close to the shroud as also confirmed by the rothalpy contours, shown in section at span
0.9 in Fig. 19. The core with the lowest energy appears just after the leading edge on the suction
side of the runner blade. However, this core is quickly dissolved in a surrounding of a slowly
decaying wider zone.

By applying the SCM method as a design tool for the runner blade row, the physical shape of
the blade can be obtained in a fast and transparent way, necessitating no further adjustments in
the viscous analysis when using the CFD tools. To allow for viscous fluid-flow modelling, the
SCM method was improved with certain empirical supplements. The calculation of the flow
field in an axially symmetrical part of the Saxo-type turbine passage was presented and the

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Fig. 18. Distribution of a circumferentially- and mass-averaged rothalpy on the meridional surface
along the runner domain (case B14-A1.8-37).

optimal shape of the runner blade for the design duty point was calculated. Because of its
impact on the flow kinematics in front of the runner, the guide vane apparatus was included in
the SCM computations. To have the runner blade designed optimally, runner velocity pattern
needs to be known exactly.
In our determination of the preliminary shape of the blade and its profiles, the following
physical guidelines were considered:
(1) Redirection of the relative velocity in the amount of incidence angle is caused by the
induced velocity close to the blade inlet section. The higher inlet blade region loading results
in higher negative value of the optimal incidence angle.
(2) Intentional layout of the angular momentum along the stator and rotor region is of a vital
importance of an efficient design of turbomachinery blading, as well as hydro turbine.
Derivation of the angular momentum through the blading - inverse design platform – is
the basic criterion when selecting the correct number of blades and the proper profile
(3) For the elbowed draft tube to operate optimally, the velocity field with a certain
distribution in the cone inlet and independent from the discharge and the turbine head
should be assured (see Fig. 11). Conditions achieved in cases B14-37-A1.8-A1.9 and B20-46
are almost optimal for the used draft tube.

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Fig. 19. Rothalpy contour at the blade-to-blade surface - Span 5 0.9 (case B14-A1.8-37).

Drawn up from the extensive CFD analysis, here are shown only the results related to the
SCM computing domain and runner blading design results. With a view to correct comparison,
the CFD simulations were made with no gap between the casing and the blade tip, while
considered the CFD results were used as reference. In principle, a correct prediction of the flow
pattern overlaps with the proper shape of the blades. Predictions of the static pressure obtained
by using the SCM method are less accurate, but still giving a satisfactory information.
Analysing the flow around the developed blading in the design-duty point shows no separation
or origin of the secondary flow. Observing the runner exit flow, it may be concluded that if the
hydro turbine blades are generally low hydraulically loaded (in order to avoid cavitation), the
secondary flow is not apparent.
Estimation of energy losses in individual turbine passages by integrating the flow energy in
the relevant control sections is a standard procedure. More important then the knowledge of the
losses themselves is the knowledge of its origin location. By analysing the rothalpy distribution,
the place of the low-energy fluid accumulation can be identified. When analysing only the
absolute total specific energy in rotating region, it is difficult to differentiate between the
specific energy drop resulting from changes in angular momentum, and the share of the increase
in the energy losses.

Transactions of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2011 141

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