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Design and Optimization of Radial Flow Wheels for a Waste Heat Recovery Double Supersonic Stage Turbo-Expander

[+] Author Affiliations
Paolo Del Turco, Alberto Scotti Del Greco, Daniele Natali, Roberto Biagi

GE Oil & Gas, Florence, Italy

Robert Borys

GE Oil & Gas, Warsaw, Poland

Paper No. GT2010-23649, pp. 1117-1126; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 6: Structures and Dynamics, Parts A and B
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4401-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Waste heat recovery cycles equipped with radial inflow turbines (turbo-expanders) typically dictate large pressure ratios per stage in order to increase the overall cycle efficiency. Depending on the operating conditions, supersonic flow may be reached at some location within the stage. The design of turbo-machinery in such an environment poses several challenges, the most important of which are preventing performance deterioration and High Cycle Fatigue (HCF) failure of the rotating, stressed material by avoiding resonance frequencies in the operating range. Turbo-expander wheels, being uncooled components, are generally not affected by high temperature gradients; therefore LCF (Low Cycle Fatigue) doesn’t constitute their main limiting life factor. This paper describes the process used in GE Oil & Gas to design and optimize the wheels of a 17MW double supersonic stage turbo-expander. The initial design phases, preliminary design assessments, CFD analyses and structural analysis optimization are described. Special focus is given to the modal analysis and resonance identification (i.e., Modal Cyclic Analysis) used in the design phase. A critical review of the use of the SAFE interference diagram in place of the Campbell diagram is also provided.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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