Investigation of the effects of flow conditions at rotor inlet on mixed flow turbine performance for automotive applications

Richard Morrison, Stephen Spence, Sung Kim, Dietmar Filsinger, Thomas Leonard

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Current trends in the automotive industry have placed increased importance on engine downsizing for passenger vehicles. Engine downsizing often results in reduced power output and turbochargers have been relied upon to restore the power output and maintain drivability. As improved power output is required across a wide range of engine operating conditions, it is necessary for the turbocharger to operate effectively at both design and off-design conditions. One off-design condition of considerable importance for turbocharger turbines is low velocity ratio operation, which refers to the combination of high exhaust gas velocity and low turbine rotational speed. Conventional radial flow turbines are constrained to achieve peak efficiency at the relatively high velocity ratio of 0.7, due the requirement to maintain a zero inlet blade angle for structural reasons. Several methods exist to potentially shift turbine peak efficiency to lower velocity ratios. One method is to utilize a mixed flow turbine as an alternative to a radial flow turbine. In addition to radial and circumferential components, the flow entering a mixed flow turbine also has an axial component. This allows the flow to experience a non-zero inlet blade angle, potentially shifting peak efficiency to a lower velocity ratio when compared to an equivalent radial flow turbine.
This study examined the effects of varying the flow conditions at the inlet to a mixed flow turbine and evaluated the subsequent impact on performance. The primary parameters examined were average inlet flow angle, the spanwise distribution of flow angle across the inlet and inlet flow cone angle. The results have indicated that the inlet flow angle significantly influenced the degree of reaction across the rotor and the turbine efficiency. The rotor studied was a custom in-house design based on a state-of-the-art radial flow turbine design. A numerical approach was used as the basis for this investigation and the numerical model has been validated against experimental data obtained from the cold flow turbine test rig at Queen’s University Belfast. The results of the study have provided a useful insight into how the flow conditions at rotor inlet influence the performance of a mixed flow turbine.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016
EventInternational Turbocharging Seminar 2016 - Tianjin, China
Duration: 21 Sep 201622 Sep 2016


ConferenceInternational Turbocharging Seminar 2016

Bibliographical note

The conference was organised by NLETT (National Laboratory of Engine Turbocharging Technology) in China


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