Forced and Self Oscillations of Hydraulic Systems Induced by Cavitation Vortex Rope of Francis Turbines

With economical energy market strategies based on instantaneous pricings of electricity as function of the demand or the predictions, operators harness more hydroelectric facilities to off-design operating points to cover the variations of the electricity production. Under these operating conditions, Francis turbines develop a cavitating swirling flow at the runner outlet which induces pressure fluctuations propagating in the whole hydraulic system. The core of this cavitating vortex is usually called vortex rope. At resonance conditions, the superimposition of the induced traveling waves gives rise to a standing wave leading to undesirable large pressure and output power fluctuations. The aim of this present work is to predict and to simulate this resonance phenomenon which may happen both in part load or full load operating conditions. The identification of the excitation sources induced by the cavitating vortex rope is performed with numerical simulations based on a three dimensional incompressible model, so called hydrodynamic (HD) model. The assumption of plane wave propagation in the water passages connected to the turbine is set since low surging frequencies are involved. Hence, propagation of these sources is simulated with a one dimensional compressible model, so called hydroacoustic (HA) model. The HA model covers the entire hydraulic system including the source region corresponding to the draft tube of the Francis turbine whereas the HD model covers only the source region. In this present work, a specific HA draft tube model has been developed. A momentum source modeling the forces induced by the flow acting on the draft tube wall is considered. Moreover, the fluctuating cavitation volume is considered as a mass source. Finally, a thermodynamic damping is introduced to model energy dissipation during a phase change between liquid and gas. Investigations at part load conditions aim to simulate the upper part load resonance phenomenon for which frequency of pressure fluctuations are experienced between 2 and 4 times the runner frequency. Measurements were carried out in the framework of the FLINDT project which is therefore the case study for validation. First of all, HA draft tube model parameters have been derived for the investigated operating point considering both single phase and two phase unsteady simulations with the HD model. An analysis of these parameters is performed and comparison between single phase and two phase simulation results is made. It is shown that the cavitation modeling in the HD model is necessary to find the vortex rope precession frequency which depends on the cavitation amount in the vortex core. However, the volume of vapor is underestimated and a correction factor on the Thoma number is necessary to get a good agreement between experiments and simulation results. Moreover it has been shown that the three dimensional flow in the elbow gives rise to HA sources able to excite the hydraulic system. Intensity of the sources are higher when two phase flow simulations are considered. Before simulating the upper part load resonance phenomenon, a preliminary validation of these HA parameters is performed by simulating a standard part load resonance where the vortex rope precession frequency, near 0.3 times the runner frequency, matches with the first eigenfrequency of the hydraulic system. In out of resonance conditions, maximum of pressure fluctuations amplitudes are experienced in the draft tube cone with an amplitude being 1% of the turbine head. However, when resonance occurs, maximum amplitude of pressure fluctuations reaches up to 7%. A good agreement is obtained with the order of magnitudes found in measurements available in the literature. After this preliminary validation, simulation of the upper part load resonance phenomenon has been tackled. It has been found that the mechanism inducing this phenomenon is related to an undesirable fluctuation of the cavitation volume which frequency can match with an eigenfrequency of the hydraulic system. However, this fluctuation is captured for a Thoma number much higher than the experimental one leading to a cavitation volume very small compared to the experiments. A prototype installation of four 478 MW Francis turbines located in the Canada's province British Columbia, has been chosen as the case study to analyze the full load instability phenomenon. Indeed, this instability occurred on prototype and reduced scale model as well. Hence, experimental measurements have been carried out on the reduced scale model aiming to use experimental data to validate the numerical simulations performed with the HA draft tube model. The mass source defined in this model, is described by a decisive parameter which is the mass flow gain factor. Extensively used in previous works for the analysis of this phenomenon, this parameter is defined to represent the effect of the HA fluctuations of the downstream flow rate to the cavitation volume on the mass source. In this present work, the same formulation is used and has been combined with the introduction of a new parameter: the thermodynamic damping. First of all, these HA parameters have been derived for the different investigated experimental operating points from single phase steady simulations. Then, using these computed parameters, a small perturbation stability analysis in the frequency domain has been carried out to identify the stability of the different operating points. The experimental unstable characteristic frequencies have been found out with this modal analysis. However, this analysis in the frequency domain does not give any information about the amplitude of the pressure fluctuations induced by the instability. Hence, time domain HA simulations have been performed. It has been shown that the using of constant HA draft tube model parameters leads to divergent time domain simulations, whereas nonlinear parameters depending on the pressure variable, lead to a limit cycle of finite amplitude fluctuations. Moreover, nonlinearity of the thermodynamic damping is decisive to reach this limit cycle. Finally, a methodology has been set up to predict the instability of the prototype from the investigations on the reduced scale model. A combination of measurements, numerical simulations and computation of the eigenmodes of the reduced scale model installed on test rig, allows the accurate calibration of the HA draft tube model parameters at the model scale. Finally, transposition of these parameters to the prototype according to similitude laws is applied for the stability analysis of the power plant.

Avellan, François
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis5117-6

 Record created 2011-05-26, last modified 2018-03-17

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