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On the Aerodynamic Design of a Wells-Turbine Blade 1

A. Peter Schaffarczyk Laboratory for Computational Mechanics Department of Mechanical Engineering University of Applied Sciences Kiel Grenzstr. 3 D-24149 Kiel, Germany 13.01.2005

Abstract Different aerodynamic methods for designing blades were investigated and applied to a small Wells Turbine prototype.

Internal Report of the Laboratory for Computational Mechanics, University of Applied Sciences, Kiel, Germany, No. 20

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Introduction
These investigations are mainly based on a Diploma-Thesis of Pusnik [5], in which an electical power-station for measuring devices should have been designed - driven by water-wave-energy only. Comissioning was from GEOMAR, Kiels marine geological reseach institute. Various possibilities for an engineering solution of the energy transfer process were investigated, but finally it was decided to use a Wells-Turbine [2] type of machine. A prototype was designed from fluid-mechanical principles and a small model was constructed via the rapid-prototyping facilities at the CIMTT (see fig. 1). Preliminary results were presented in [10] as well during internal meetings within the CIMTT at the UAS Kiel. For a most recent review see [14].

Fig. 1: Prototype from Pusniks diploma-thesis [5]

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Design Strategies
The shape of a wells-turbine blade is determined mainly from the fact that the direction of rotation must not change if the inflow direction is oscillating [2]. Therefore the following restrictions have to be fullfilled: no twist on the blades, use symmetrical profiles (NACA 00XX, Eppler, e.g) only . Variation of chord is still possible but has not been taken into account so far. For achiving a high effienciency ( 80 %) the lift-to-drag ratio of the profiles has to be at least 80. This results in a local angle-of-attack (AOA) of around 6 to 8 degreesfor Re above 500 k. Tip-Speed-Ratio (TSR) =r/uax then has to be in the order of 7 to 11. For all the following investigations we use the general numbers: 1. 2. 2. 3. RPM = 5000 or = 523/s, Rtip = 50 mm, Rhub = 30 mm, or Rtip/Rhub=0.6, Number of blades: Z = 6.

Using air (=1.25 kg/m3) as the operating fluid we at first have to ask the power outcome to choose for an appropriate electrical generator. Further a design from simple engineering rules [4] requires knowedge of the integral flow-volume (known to be Q = 3.9210-2m3/s; cooresponding to 5 m/s mean inflow velocity) and the pressure jump (Head), which can be calculated from the aerodynamic forces (lift and drag) by applying blade-element methods in combination with tabulated aerodynamic data1 of the profile used (see fig. 2). To be consistent with dynamical (and not only kinematical) laws we then have to use more sophisticated models for the flow-field including induced velocites resulting from action of Newtons 3rd law. Such simulations then result in verly large variation of CPU-consumption depending clearly on the sophistication level: (1) Very simple calculations based on the theory of radial equilibrium [2,3] take only very few seconds on a PC, can be coded very simple (1D theory) and is frequently used in combination with optimization tools. (2) Actuator Disk models in combination with blade-element method (2.5D) [7,8] are more complicated because the whole 2D flow field has to be

Reynoldsnumber for the prototype may be estimated to be in the order of 50 10.

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determined in interaction with the lift and drag forces. These are introduced into the flow-equations as volume-forces, for example. Although this procedure seems to be very elegant is has some severe shortcomings: The polars to be used are often not measured at the right Reynoldsnumber range and esp. the stalled region of flow is seldomly covered. Therefore one has to use semi-empirical extrapolations (see fig. 3, where we used a simple flat-plate model) for AOA larger than the stall-anlge (12 deg. in this case). (3) All these approximations can only be avoided if a genuine 3D NavierStokes calculation is performed. Our model with approx. 300 k cells needs a CPU time (on an ordinary [SGI O200] work-station) of a few hours. Fortunaltely the geometrical extentions were so small that the flow can be regarded as mainly laminar and we can avoid furhter uncertainities by empirical turbulence models (see [1] for the application of turbulence models for larger blades).

Results
As a result we got the following integral results: Method (1 ) Radial equilibrium (2 ) AD/BEM (3a) 3D NS: CFX (3b) 3D NS: FLUENT Thrust (N) 0.20 0.40 0.45 0.40 Power (W) (torque integration) 1.08 1.72 2.24 1.33

Table 1: Summary of integral results for thrust and power From these values we get for a typical pressure jump p = 50 Pa and a flow number = 2n ,V,&/2p around 2. Thes values can then be used as input for engineering rules as the in Germany very popular Cordier-Rule. From fig. (2.29) of [4] we see that our hub-to-tip ratio is slightly to large (recommended for these parameters: 0.4). Table 1 also shows deviations in thrust and power of a factor of two. It is clear that 1D model are far too simple to give accurate results. 2.5D AD/BEM theory and 3D NS calculations gave the same thrusts within 10 %. The useful power is sensitive to tangential forces so their differences are more pronounced. No mesh-dependency study was performed.

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Fig 2: Outline of NACA 0020 Profile

Fig 3a: Polar from elsewhere high Re (= 1000 10)

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Fig 3b: Polar from Xfoil low Re (= 50 10)

Fig 3c: Comparison of Lift-to-Drag ratio as function of Re (max: high Re: 65, low Re: 25)

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Fig. 4: CAD Model of a whole blade As a final result we see in Fig. 8 radial resolved plots for circumferential components (u) and flow-angle () and from 1D and 2.5 D theories [7,8,9]. Detailled pressure distributions are presented for BEM in Fig. 5. Figs. 6 and 7 show the corresponding results for 3D - block-structured (hexa-mesh) as well as unstructured (tet - mesh) - Navier-Stokes-calculations. It has to be noted that the tangential velocity of NS and AD only differ in the outer region, where AD is not valid anymore due to exclusion of all viscous effects. The systematic off-set in the radial-equilibrium is not fully clarified and has to be investigated further. The blade has no twist therefore the flow-angle is equal to the AOA. Referring to fig. 8 again we see far to large angles meaning that the blade is operating mostly in the stalled region. So we can conclude that RPM is not appropriate.

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Blades

Fig 5a,b: a)Distribution of pressure for BEM (2.5D, no friction) in a cutting plane, b) location of blades

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Fig 6a,b: a) Distribution of surface pressure (in Pa) and b) velocity vectors calculated with FLUENT (595k non-structured tets, 3D-NS)

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View from top

View from below

Fig. 7a,b: Surface pressure distribution (in Pa) calculated with CFX (320k structured hexas, 3D-NS)

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Fig 8: Comparison of flow-angle and tangential velocity: Radial Equilibrium (1D), Actuator-Disk/Blade-Element-theory (2.5D), CFD - laminar Navier-Stokes calculation (3D)

Summary and Outlook


A prototype Wells-turbine design was accompanied with preliminary full 3D Navier-Stokes CFD and other, simpler methods. Accurate efficiency measurements have to be done to rule out which approach is the most efficient. Investigations for possible improvements due to more sophisticated new profiles, designed by Eppler-Code or Xfoil, will lead to further increase of the general performance.

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References
[1] R.A. Davey, CFD Simulation of the Wells Turbine, 5th int. CFX Users Conference, Friedrichshafen, June 1999 [2] S.L. Dixon, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics of Tubomachinery, 4th Ed, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 1998, Chap. 4 [3] J.H. Horlock, Axial Flow Turbines, Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, 1985 [4] K. Menny, Strmungsmaschinen, Teubner-Verlag, Stuttgart, 1985 (in German) [5] P. Pusnik, Wellenenergiewandler, Diplomarbeit, Inst. f. Feinwerktechnik/GEOMAR, Kiel, 2000, (in German) [6] S. Raghunathan, C.P. Tan, N.A. Wells, Theory and Performance of a Wells Turbine, AIAA TN 6, pp 157-160, 1982 [7] A. P. Schaffarczyk, Blattelementmethode via CFX, Labor fr numerische Mechanik, Bericht 14, Kiel, Feb. 2000,(in German) [8] A. P. Schaffarczyk and J.T. Conway Comparison of a Nonlinear Actuator Disk Theory , with Numerical Integration Including Viscous Effects, CASI Journal,46, pp 209 - 215, Dec. 2000 [9] A. P. Schaffarczyk, Actuator Disc Models for Shrouded Flow Machines, 5th int. Seminar on Applied Mechanics, Wisa, Poland, 25. May 2001 [10]M. Schrumpf & A. P. Schaffarczyk, Aerodynamic Design of a WellsTurbine-Blade with CFD, EuroConference on CAE Integration - Tools, Trends and Technologies, 20.03.-01.04.2001, Cambridge, England [11]C.E. Tindall, Mingzhuo Xu, Optimizing a Wells-Turbine Wave Energy System, IEEE Trans. Energy Conv., pp 631-635, 1996 [12]VDI-Nachrichten 18, 4. Mai. 2001, p 25; Sonne, Wind & Wrme, 8, August 2001, pp 53 ff, (in German) [13] Theoretical and Experimental Investigation on the Wells Turbine Performance, H. A. Heikal, A. Abdel Hafiz, N. N. Bayomi & M. H. Ahmed, Faculty of Engineering, Mataria,Helwan University, Cairo, EGYPT (2003 ?)

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