Experimental investigation of added mass effects on a Francis turbine runner in still water
The mechanical design of hydraulic turbines is conditioned by the dynamic response of the runner that is usually estimated by a computational model. Nevertheless, the runner has complex boundary conditions that are difficult to include in the computational model. One of these boundary conditions is the water in which the runner is submerged. The effect of the added mass and damping of water can modify considerably the natural frequencies of the runner. An experimental investigation in a reduced scale model of a turbine runner, using modal analysis, was carried out. Several impact tests with the runner freely suspended in air and in water were done. The response was measured with accelerometers located in different positions of the runner. From the modal analysis, the natural frequencies, damping ratios, and mode-shapes were determined. The same mode-shapes obtained in air were obtained in water but with lower natural frequencies and higher damping ratios in water. The difference in the natural frequencies is shown to be dependant basically on the added mass effect of the water and not on its added damping. This difference also depends on the geometry of the mode, presenting different values for different mode-shapes. Using nondimensional values, the reduction in the natural frequencies can be extrapolated to other Francis runners presenting similar geometrical characteristics.