Numerical research of cavitation on Francis turbine runners
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Francis turbines, as other hydraulic turbines, are custom-designed for nominal operating conditions specific to each power plant. However, they may need to be operated at off design flow conditions because of variable reservoir levels and flowrates. Operating the turbine at off-design points can cause cavitation. Four cavitation types can be observed on Francis turbine runners. These are leading edge, travelling bubble, draft tube swirl and inter-blade vortex cavitation. They may cause erosion, reduction in efficiency, vibration, instability of operation and noise. Runner blades must be designed taking the flow characteristics into account for design conditions to prevent cavitation. Cavitation limits for the off-design points must also be determined. In this study, the runner geometry of an actual hydroelectric power plant that was designed and implemented in 1960s, is redesigned with the help of the state of the art computational fluid dynamics techniques for cavitation free operation. The cavitation limits for the off-design points are also determined. (C) 2017 Hydrogen Energy Publications LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.