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Efficient FEA/CFD Thermal Coupling for Engineering Applications

[+] Author Affiliations
Zixiang Sun, John W. Chew, Nicholas J. Hills, Konstantin N. Volkov

University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK

Christopher J. Barnes

Rolls-Royce plc, Derby, UK

Paper No. GT2008-50638, pp. 1505-1515; 11 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2008: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 4: Heat Transfer, Parts A and B
  • Berlin, Germany, June 9–13, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4314-7 | eISBN: 0-7918-3824-2
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME and Rolls Royce plc


An efficient finite element analysis/computational fluid dynamics (FEA/CFD) thermal coupling technique has been developed and demonstrated. The thermal coupling is achieved by an iterative procedure between FEA and CFD calculations. Communication between FEA and CFD calculations ensures continuity of temperature and heat flux. In the procedure, the FEA simulation is treated as unsteady for a given transient cycle. To speed up the thermal coupling, steady CFD calculations are employed, considering that fluid flow time-scales are much shorter than those for the solid heat conduction and therefore the influence of unsteadiness in fluid regions is negligible. To facilitate the thermal coupling, the procedure is designed to allow a set of CFD models to be defined at key time points/intervals in the transient cycle and to be invoked during the coupling process at specified time points. To further enhance computational efficiency, a “frozen flow” or “energy equation only” coupling option was also developed, where only the energy equation is solved while the flow is frozen in CFD simulation during the thermal coupling process for specified time intervals. This option has proven very useful in practice, as the flow is found to be unaffected by the thermal boundary conditions over certain time intervals. The FEA solver employed is an in-house code, and the coupling has been implemented for two different CFD solvers; a commercial code and an in-house code. Test cases include an industrial low pressure (LP) turbine and a high pressure (HP) compressor, with CFD modeling of the LP turbine disc cavity and the HP compressor drive cone cavity flows, respectively. Good agreement of wall temperatures with the industrial rig test data was observed. It is shown that the coupled solutions can be obtained in sufficiently short turn-around times (typically within a week) for use in design.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME and Rolls Royce plc



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