Numerical simulation of swirling flow in complex hydroturbine draft tube using unsteady statistical turbulence models

Joongcheol Paik, Fotis Sotiropoulos, Michael J. Sale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

A numerical method is developed for carrying out unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) simulations and detached-eddy simulations (DESs) in complex 3D geometries. The method is applied to simulate incompressible swirling flow in a typical hydroturbine draft tube, which consists of a strongly curved 90° elbow and two piers. The governing equations are solved with a second-order-accurate, finite-volume, dual-time-stepping artificial compressibility approach for a Reynolds number of 1.1 million on a mesh with 1.8 million nodes. The geometrical complexities of the draft tube are handled using domain decomposition with overset (chimera) grids. Numerical simulations show that unsteady statistical turbulence models can capture very complex 3D flow phenomena dominated by geometry-induced, large-scale instabilities and unsteady coherent structures such as the onset of vortex breakdown and the formation of the unsteady rope vortex downstream of the turbine runner. Both URANS and DES appear to yield the general shape and magnitude of mean velocity profiles in reasonable agreement with measurements. Significant discrepancies among the DES and URANS predictions of the turbulence statistics are also observed in the straight downstream diffuser. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-456
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Hydraulic Engineering
Volume131
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2005

Keywords

  • Hydroelectric powerplants
  • Numerical models
  • Turbines
  • Turbulence
  • Unsteady flow

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