The flow in the off-design operation of a Francis turbine may lead to the formation of spiral vortex breakdowns in the draft tube, a diffuser installed after the runner. The spiral vortex breakdown, also named a vortex rope, may induce several low-frequency fluctuations leading to structural vibrations and a reduction in the overall efficiency of the turbine. In the present study, synchronized particle image velocimetry, pressure, and turbine flow parameter (Q, H, α, and T) measurements have been carried out in the draft tube cone of a high head model Francis turbine. The transient operating condition from the part load to the best efficiency point was selected to investigate the mitigation of the vortex rope in the draft tube cone. The experiments were performed 20 times to assess the significance of the results. A precession frequency of 1.61 Hz [i.e., 0.29 times the runner rotational frequency (Rheingans frequency)] is observed in the draft tube cone. The frequency is captured in both pressure and velocity data with its harmonics. The accelerating flow condition at the center of the cone with a guide vane opening is observed to diminish the spiral form of the vortex breakdown in the quasi-stagnant region. This further mitigates the stagnant part of the cone with a highly dominated axial flow condition of the turbine at the best efficiency point. The disappearance of the stagnant region is the most important state in the present case, which mitigates the spiral vortex breakdown of the cone at high Reynolds numbers. In contrast to a typical transition, a new type of transition from wake to jet is observed during the mitigation of the breakdown. The obtained 2D instantaneous velocity fields demonstrate the disappearance region of shear layers and stagnation in the cone. The results also demonstrate the existence of high axial velocity gradients in an elbow draft tube cone.
Experimental study of mitigation of a spiral vortex breakdown at high Reynolds number under an adverse pressure gradient
Rahul Goyal, Bhupendra K. Gandhi, Michel J. Cervantes; Experimental study of mitigation of a spiral vortex breakdown at high Reynolds number under an adverse pressure gradient. Physics of Fluids 1 October 2017; 29 (10): 104104. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4999123
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