Renewable Energy, Vol.134, 807-817, 2019
Effect of blade thickness on the hydraulic performance of a Francis hydro turbine model
Francis turbines are the most commonly used turbines for hydroelectric power generation. Preliminary studies to verify turbine designs are often performed with small-scale models; however, when the runner blade of a full-size turbine is geometrically scaled down to prepare a model for evaluating the design variables and performance characteristics, the blades become very thin and difficult to manufacture. Hence, the blockage effect of the runner blade should be considered to find a suitable blade thickness that satisfies the required hydraulic performance. Furthermore, a clear understanding of the blockage ratio at the highest efficiency point and off-design condition is required to investigate different blade thicknesses and performance characteristics. Here, the blockage effect of the runner blade on the hydraulic performance and internal flow characteristics of a 300-class Francis hydro turbine was investigated. Three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes calculations were performed with a shear stress transport turbulence model to analyze the internal flow characteristics near the runner blade and compare the blockage effect with various blade thicknesses on major performance parameters such as the hydraulic efficiency. Flow analyses for the off-design conditions were also performed with various blade thicknesses. The obtained results indicated that the power and efficiency gradually decreased with increasing blockage ratio. The runner head loss increased due to the mismatches between the flow angle and blade angle with changing the inlet velocity triangle components according to blockage ratio. Especially the efficiency of approximate 3.4% decreased as the blockage ratio increased with 12.5%, compared to the reference model. It was verified that the blockage effect significantly affects the design of Francis turbine models.(C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.