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D. Filsinger J. Szwedowicz O. Scha ¨ fer

R&DTurbochargers, ABB Turbo Systems Ltd., 5401 Baden, Switzerland

Approach to Unidirectional Coupled CFDFEM Analysis of Axial Turbocharger Turbine Blades

This paper describes an approach to unidirectional coupled CFDFEM analysis devel- oped at ABB Turbo Systems Ltd. Results of numerical investigations concerning the vi- bration behavior of an axial turbocharger turbine are presented. To predict the excitation forces acting on the rotating blades, the time-resolved two-dimensional coupled statorrotor flow field of the turbine stage was calculated. The unsteady pressure, imposed on the airfoil contour, leads to circumferentially nonuniform and pulsating excitation forces act- ing on the rotating bladed disk. A harmonic transformation of the excitation forces into the rotating coordinate system of a single blade was elaborated and the complex Fourier amplitudes were determined. The bladed rotor was modeled by a single symmetric seg- ment with complex circumferential boundary conditions. With respect to different nodal diameter numbers, free vibration analyses of the disk assembly were then effectively performed. For calculated resonance conditions, the steady-state responses of the turbo- charger bladed disk were computed. By using this coupled CFDFEM analysis, the dynamic loading of the turbine blades can be determined in the design process. DOI: 10.1115/1.1415035


High cycle fatigue of rotating turbine components is a serious problem, causing substantial damage and high maintenance effort. Highly loaded compressor or turbine blades are damaged by al- ternating stresses resulting from the excitation forces. To improve the component reliability, this important technical aspect has ini- tiated intensive research programs 1 . An understanding of the fluid–structure interaction is essential because excitation is mainly induced by the fluid flow. Phenomena like stator wakes, flutter, rotating stall, as well as acoustic resonance are numerically and experimentally under investigation 2–8 , but the link between fluid dynamics and structural mechanics is still not well estab- lished. Numerical tools can help to close this gap, but there are only a few reports 9,10 describing the complete procedure, be- ginning with the flow evaluation and stepping on to the calcula- tion of the resulting loading of the turbine blades. Turbine blades of axial turbochargers operating with variable speed are exposed to extreme unsteady dynamic forces. These forces are caused by the stroke and the charging system of the engine, the gas inlet, and the nozzle guide vanes. In general, lack of experimental and numerical data does not allow the definition of the exciting forces required in the design process. Therefore, in current design procedures, the reliability of the already manufac- tured blade can only be proved experimentally for instance by applying expensive strain gauge measurements. A research program, initiated at ABB Turbo Systems Ltd. in Switzerland, intends to support the expensive experimental work with numerical tools. In analogy to Srinivasan’s 11 statement, progress could be achieved by close collaboration among experts in computational fluid dynamics CFD , Finite Element methods FEM , turbine design, and charging systems. This paper presents an approach to unidirectional coupled CFD–FEM analysis of axial turbocharger turbine blades.

Numerical Procedure

The final goal of the research program is the calculation of dynamic stresses in rotating blades exposed to unsteady aero- dynamic forces. This ambitious task requires reliable numerical tools. Firstly, the transient flow behavior in the turbine cascade has to be simulated requiring time-dependent pressure and tem- perature inlet boundary conditions. Finally, forced blade responses u have to be computed due to the pulsating pressure distribution p(t) obtained from CFD analysis Fig. 1 . The coupling between these two numerical methods is achieved by a Fourier decompo- sition amplitude P k , phase delay k of the time resolved exci- tation forces F(t) acting on the rotating bladed disk. Figure 1 illustrates the unidirectional coupled procedure. Emphasis was on the issue not to exceed industrial standards for the turnaround time of a complete calculation cycle. Also the required computational memory and time had to be kept in mind and, therefore, some simplifications had to be accepted. Features of the applied numeri- cal tools and assumed simplifications are described in the following.

Computational Fluid Dynamics. The program system devel- oped in-house was already adjusted to the prediction of unsteady

in-house was already adjusted to the prediction of unsteady Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute

Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute and presented at the 46th International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition, New Orleans, Louisiana, June 4–7, 2001. Manuscript received by the International Gas Turbine Institute February 2001. Paper No. 2001-GT-288. Review Chair: R. Natole. Fig. 1 Unidirectional coupled numerical procedure

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Fig. 2 Example of CFD grid aerodynamic forces in pulse charged turbines of turbochargers 12

Fig. 2

Example of CFD grid

aerodynamic forces in pulse charged turbines of turbochargers 12 . It is based on a two-dimensional time accurate multiblock Euler/Navier–Stokes solver. The integrated postprocessing offers a close link to mechanical integrity codes by the determination of the blade forces. The calculations are done in the absolute frame of reference, using a moving grid for the rotor. At the intersection between the stator and the rotor grid, the cells have to overlap, and the so-called CHIMERA Interpolation is used 13 . The number of channels in the stage is between 60 and 70. For a fully three- dimensional simulation of the transient flow field, the amount of computational time and computer memory would be far beyond the capacity of standard computers used in design departments. Therefore, a simplified model was applied, based on two- dimensional Euler equations. These equations are valid for straight inviscid cascade flows and sufficient for the flow simula- tion on a circumferential stream plane of a chosen radius with constant radial thickness. Assuming thin boundary layers, the in- fluence of friction and heat transfer are negligible and coarse com- putational grids could be used for the two-dimensional simulation without loss in accuracy. Figure 2 shows an example with only 29 9 grid points per block. A more detailed explanation of the CFD tool can be found in Scha ¨ fer 14 .

Boundary Conditions. The unsteady inlet boundary condi- tions were determined by using the simulation system, SiSy, which was developed at ABB Turbo Systems, Ltd., by Bulaty et al. 15 . This code simulates Diesel engine behavior with re- spect to the exhaust pipe system and the turbocharger perfor- mance. The SiSy system fulfills the following requirements: 1 optimization of gas exchange processes, 2 simulation of engine performance under different ambient conditions, 3 analysis of the influence of turbocharger specifications, 4 comparison of dif- ferent turbocharging systems, and 5 parameter studies for load acceptance. In the scope of the ‘‘coupled CFD–FEM analysis’’, the SiSy program delivers the transient total pressure and tem- perature at the inlet of the turbocharger turbine in terms of the operating conditions. Total temperature and pressure are highly unsteady due to the pressure pulses in the exhaust system of an alternating combustion engine compare Fig. 6 .

Finite Element Method: Dynamic Analysis. At ABB Turbo Systems, Ltd., the ABAQUS finite element code is already inten- sively used for structural and dynamic analyses. Valuable experi- ence is available and, therefore, the ABAQUS program was inte- grated into the design procedure. Disk assemblies containing N turbine blades coupled circumfer- entially through the elastic rotor and an optional lacing wire had to be analyzed. Blade mistuning effects slight differences in ge- ometry and/or in the damping properties among blades 16 were neglected in the performed analyses. Under these conditions the disk assembly is a rotationally periodic structure of N identical blades and the cyclic wave theory could be applied. Thus, the static and dynamic deformations of the whole disk could be rep- resented by a single blade with complex circumferential boundary conditions.

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boundary conditions. 126 Õ Vol. 124, JANUARY 2002 Fig. 3 tions in the real domain Identical

Fig. 3

tions in the real domain

Identical meshes to define complex bladed disk oscilla-

Neglecting dissipation effects,

the harmonic free vibration of the single coupled blade is given by the complex matrix equation


where 2 /N is the circumferential periodicity angle of the disc sector and the nodal diameter number n varies according to

Free Vibration Computation.

M e jn q ¨ K e jn , q 0 ,

j 1

n 0,1,2,

N/2 N 1 /2

for N






In Eq. 1 , M (e jn ) and K(e jn , ) represent the blade mass and nonlinear stiffness matrices with respect to the rotational speed Both complex matrices depend on the nodal diameter number n. The complex vectors q and q ¨ describe the nodal displacement and the acceleration of the blade vibration. Between nodes located on the right and left circumferential sector sides, cyclic kinematic constraints are imposed as



Rewriting the Euler function in trigonometric notation, eigen- frequencies of the cyclic finite element system can be computed in the real domain. Consequently, the cyclic model has to be repre- sented by two identical finite element meshes Fig. 3 , whose nodal boundaries on the circumferential sector sides are con- strained as shown in Eqs. 3 and 4 . For each mode i and nodal diameter n besides n 0 and n N/2 , two identical eigenfre- quencies are computed, which refer to two possible orthogonal mode shapes of the disk assembly.

Static Calculation. By substituting n equal to 0 into Eq. 1 and Eqs. 3 and 4 as well as omitting the inertial term of Eq. 1 , the static equation of the disk assembly rotating with the angular speed is obtained in the following form:

K q P o T F (5)

where P o , T , and F( )

are stationary gas pressure ob-

tained from CFD , thermal loads obtained from thermal FE simu- lation , and centrifugal forces, respectively. In turbocharger blisks the blades can be circumferentially coupled by a lacing wire, as shown in Fig. 3. In this case, an effective contact area between the

airfoil and lacing wire is obtained from a nonlinear static compu- tation by using contact elements 17 . In the free vibration analy- ses, the nodes located on the computed contact area are fixed rigidly to each other as demonstrated by Szwedowicz 18 . Fi- nally, for the considered rotational speed , the eigenfrequencies of the bladed disk can be computed.

Damping Properties of Turbocharger Disks. Gust-response and motion-dependent unsteady aerodynamics assure improve-

q right q left e jn

¨ right q


¨ left e jn

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Fig. 4 lacing wire in service Measured Campbell diagram of turbocharger disk with ments for

Fig. 4

lacing wire in service

Measured Campbell diagram of turbocharger disk with

ments for calculations of aero-damping 19 . But their reliability is restricted due to hardware limitations and an excessive need of computational time. For the numerical analyses, the total blade damping material, micro-frictional, and aero-damping was evaluated from measured resonance peaks. Vibrations of disk assemblies with Fig. 4 and without lacing wire were measured under service conditions. With the help of the fractional-power bandwidth method 20 , the mag- nitudes of the damping ratios were evaluated from the resonance peaks. The values obtained by means of fraction of the critical damping were in the range of between 0.15 and 0.4 percent.

CFDFEM Coupling

Even for simplified models of disk assemblies, a time-marching structural finite element simulation of the bladed disk response is ineffective because of the need of the excessive computational time. Hence, the finite element calculations were performed in the frequency domain as mentioned before. From CFD simulations Fig. 1 , the time-dependent two- dimensional pressure distribution on the blade midsection is ob- tained. To realize a quite simple first approach, a single excitation force, split into axial and circumferential direction, is calculated from the pressure distribution assuming a uniform radial distribu- tion along the blade height. This force, acting on the center of gravity of the blade midsection, represents the blade stimulation in the forced response analyses. This simplification is acceptable since in the scope of this project, there is major interest in vibra- tions caused by the pressure pulses of the diesel engine exhaust system, which mainly excite low, simple bending blade modes 21 .

In general, forced vibrations of a

single coupled blade can be expressed in the Cartesian system by


where the damping matrix D is determined by the Rayleigh dissipation model as a linear combination of the mass and stiff- ness matrices. The generalized vector P describes the nonuni- form pressure distribution along the circumference. For a blade rotating with the constant angular speed , the pressure P is a periodic excitation function with the period of 2 / . After applying the computed eigenfrequencies i,n and mode shapes i,n see Eq. 1 , the steady state response of the disk rotating with constant angular speed is given for each nodal diameter n in the rotating frame of reference as

M e jm q ¨ D q K e jm , q P

Forced Response Analysis.


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m i,n u

¨ i,n 2 i,n i u i,n k i,n u i,n i,n



T P k e j k l k e jk t


22 where k 1,2,

dicates the number of the considered mode shapes, l denotes the

circumferential position of the excited node of the cyclic finite element model Figs. 3 and 11 . In Eq. 7 , m i,n

, describes the engine order, i 1,2,3 in-



T M(e jn ) i,n and k i,n i,n


T K(e jn ) i,n are the

modal mass and modal stiffness of the cyclic FE model, respec- tively, Fig. 3 , and i,n T is the conjugate transposed vector of the disk eigenform i,n . The nodal circumferential position l is determined from Cartesian coordinates of the excited node l. For each nodal diameter n, constant either minimum or maximum values of the damping ratio i evaluated from the experimental resonance curves see Fig. 4 are only taken into account in Eq. 7 . Therefore, the global damping matrix D in the space-time differential Eq. 6 can be simplified by 2 i,n i in the modal dynamic Eq. 7 of the cyclic FE blade model shown in Fig. 3. Amplitudes P k and phase delay k are obtained from the Fou- rier decomposition of the nonuniform pressure P. For the applied twin FE models Fig. 3 , excitation loads of each engine order k have to be imposed simultaneously on node l of the real and imaginary blade as shown by Szwedowicz 22

sin k l k, (8.1)

cos k l k, (8.2)

where refers either to the circumferential or the axial direction. Due to the orthogonality condition between the disk mode i,n and the circumferential pressure distribution P k in Eq. 7 , the disk assembly oscillating with nodal diameter number n is in reso- nance, if the excitation order k is equal to N n or (N 2)

for the even or odd number of the blades

N of the turbine rotor 22 .



real P k, cos k l k, j



imag P k, sin k l k, j


n where 0, 1,

Transformation of the Calculated Blade Forces Into the Ro- tating Blade System. For the analyzed pulse charged turbo- charger, excitation amplitude P k in Eq. 7 varies in the time domain. For the forced response calculation, the excitation has to be transformed into the frequency domain. This is achieved by use of an ordinary Fourier decomposition. In this content, it is impor- tant not only to keep an eye on the amplitude Fourier coeffi- cients but also on the phase relationship, which seems to be more uncertain to calculate 23 , but influences the magnitude of the loading considerably. It also has to be stated that the sampling interval of the time- resolved CFD plays an important role for the quality of the results 21 . Depending on the expected frequency contents and the de- sired resolution, the sampling interval was chosen according to the Nyquist sampling theorem given in Newland 24 .


With the help of these numerical tools, different turbine con- figurations under a variety of operating conditions were analyzed. This paper gives a summary of two loading cases of the turbine disk with the lacing wire. The first one was a turbine stage under

constant pressure loading. The second example demonstrates the

loading of a turbocharger turbine under pulse charging engine conditions. The numerical results were compared to experimental data as far as available.

Constant Pressure. For a first assessment of the CFD- calculations, three different turbine stages under full admission were analyzed. The output power P T of the stages was calculated by means of the tangential blade forces F 1 multiplied with the rotational speed of the turbine n TC , the Euler radius r, and the number of turbine blades N

P T 2 n TC rNF t (9)

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Fig. 5 ferent turbine configurations Comparison of relative change in output power for dif- The

Fig. 5

ferent turbine configurations

Comparison of relative change in output power for dif-

The numerical results were compared to the measured values obtained from thermodynamic experiments. The relative differ- ence is illustrated in Fig. 5. All values are related to the results for configuration 1. As expected, the calculated output power is higher than the corresponding measured values since the pressure distribution on the blade surface was calculated only for the mid- section and was assumed to be constant along the total blade height. The difference between calculated and measured data for these calculations is maximal up to 10 percent, due to the applied simple Euler calculations. Also, mass flow rates and the output power calculated from thermodynamic data are in a good agreement with the experimen- tal results. This indicates that the CFD code is able to predict the flow fields for different turbine setups.

Pulse Charging. For this case, real engine conditions were modeled assuming a three-pulse charged six-cylinder diesel en- gine. This led to model an inlet casing with two separated gas inlets. Therefore, the inlet was divided along the circumferential direction into two parts. Each inlet segment was connected to an individual exhaust pipe serving three cylinders. Heavy pressure pulses from the exhaust system are directly led to the turbocharger turbine. This results in significant differences between the admis- sions of the two inlet segments and therefore high dynamic loads acting on the turbine blades had to be expected. Thus, the de- scribed test case is a good example to demonstrate the capability of the coupled CFD–FEM analysis.

Boundary Conditions. The unsteady inlet boundary condi- tions for the CFD analysis, namely the total pressure p and total temperature T, were obtained by the use of the SiSy code model- ing the Diesel engine behavior with respect to the pipe system. The values for each of the two segments are displayed in Fig. 6. The six pulses of the cylinders three per segment can clearly be seen. With respect to the time, very high differences of the inflow

respect to the time, very high differences of the inflow Fig. 6 diagram … inlet boundary

Fig. 6

diagraminlet boundary conditions

Unsteady pressure p upperand temperature T lower

boundary conditions exist at the two separate gas inlets. The boundary conditions at the outlet were set to ambient conditions.

Blade Forces. The CFD calculation reveals snapshots of the unsteady pressure field of the turbine stage for each time step. An arbitrary example can be seen in the upper part of Fig. 7, which illustrates the significant difference in pressure distribution at tur- bine inlet and the pressure decrease over the stage. From the pres- sure distribution the pulsating forces acting on the rotating blade were calculated. As mentioned before, only one single resulting force represents the loading on each blade. Figure 8 shows the calculated forces for a complete engine cycle, which equals two revolutions of the four-stroke diesel engine. In the graph, the forcing function is related to the time averaged value. Six pulses are detected and it can be stated that the blades are subjected to extreme dynamic loads. The turbocharger revolution can also be recognized, and in the lower part of Fig. 8 one turbocharger revolution is shown in detail. For reasons of clarity, the qualitative loading of the turbine blades during one revolution is also illustrated in the lower part of Fig. 7. The strong differences between the two segments and the influence of the turbine nozzles can be detected.

and the influence of the turbine nozzles can be detected. Fig. 7 tative loading of the

Fig. 7

tative loading of the turbine blades lower diagram

Pressure distribution in the midsection of the turbine stage for a single time step upper plotand quali-

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Fig. 8 Resulting blade force versus time Figure 9 displays the power spectrum of the

Fig. 8

Resulting blade force versus time

Figure 9 displays the power spectrum of the Fourier decompo- sition for the forces acting on the blade. The high values at fre- quencies below the first turbocharger order result from the charg- ing system. Their frequencies are characterized by multiples of the speed of the Diesel engine n DE . Further peaks are detected for multiples of the turbocharger rotation n TC . Even turbocharger or-

in Fig. 9 , because

ders k are directly identified see k 2,4,6,

maximal peaks refer to the frequency kn TC as it is illustrated for

the sixth engine order in the lower part of Fig. 9. For uneven

in Fig. 9 , the highest

turbocharger orders k see k 1,3,5,

peaks correspond to two particular frequencies kn TC mn DE

and kn TC mn DE where m denotes the pulsation order (m



For each turbocharger order k, the excitation spectrum kn TC mn DE is obtained from the Fourier decomposition of the CFD results. An example for the sixth turbocharger order is shown in

An example for the sixth turbocharger order is shown in Fig. 9 Power excitation spectrum of

Fig. 9 Power excitation spectrum of the blade rotating with speed n TC ; upper diagram: full spectrum, lower diagram:

zoomed spectrum for the sixth engine order

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for the sixth engine order Journal of Turbomachinery Fig. 10 Nodal diameter diagram of the bladed

Fig. 10 Nodal diameter diagram of the bladed disk rotating with constant speed n TC Ä compare Eq. 7……

the lower part of Fig. 9. For this particular excitation order, the unsteady excitation amplitude is about 3 percent of the steady load. These data compose the excitation input for the forced finite element response calculation.

Forced Response Calculations. Initially eigenfrequencies of the turbocharger assembly with respect to the different nodal di- ameter numbers n, characterizing the disk mode shapes, were cal- culated. As mentioned before, resonance can occur if the excita- tion order k is equal to the nodal diameter number n. Intersections between the calculated excitation bands and eigenfrequencies, which define possible resonance conditions, are found with the help of the well-known Campbell diagram compare Fig. 4 in combination with the nodal diameter diagram given in Fig. 10. As an illustrative example, the sixth engine order was chosen to per- form the FEM calculations. In the CFD simulation, the rotor speed was adjusted to coincide with resonance of the first blade mode in the sixth engine order compare Fig. 10 . Using the ABAQUS finite element code, the forced response analysis was performed according to the excita- tion band of the sixth engine order shown in Fig. 9 lower dia- gram . A constant equivalent damping ratio i 1 of 0.2 percent was assumed. As mentioned before, this value includes the energy dissipation effects of the vibrating blade caused by material, fric- tional, and aerodynamic damping see Fig. 4 . Considering only material damping, which can be obtained with the help of a ham- mer test, the value would be below 0.02 percent. In the steady-state FE analysis, only the first blade mode was included, because the excitation spectra, which induce vibrations of the second and third blade modes turbocharger orders above 12 in the upper diagram in Fig. 9 , are much smaller in compari- son to the spectrum of the sixth engine order. Additionally, the fundamental vibration mode of the analyzed nodal diameter 6 of the bladed disk is well separated and distinct from the higher modes compare Fig. 11: i 2,n 6 2.1 i 1,n 6 and i 3,n 6 2.3 i 1,n 6 .

i 3, n 6 2.3 • i 1 , n 6 . Fig. 11 Comparison among

Fig. 11 Comparison among the resonance amplitudes of the lowest blade modes excited by the sixth engine order for two damping ratios

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Fig. 12 Calculated blade amplitudes at the trailing edge ver- sus exciting frequency „ left

Fig. 12 Calculated blade amplitudes at the trailing edge ver- sus exciting frequency left; and contour plot of qualitative stress distribution in the turbine blade with the damping wire right

Fixed contact between the lacing wire and the airfoil was as- sumed in the steady state vibration analyses. The frictional as well as the aerodynamic energy dissipation are only included by the introduction of the equivalent damping ratio. To illustrate all this, Fig. 11 shows the computed minor resonance responses of the second and third blade modes related to the resonance of the fun- damental blade mode. The difference between the first computed and measured blade eigenfrequency was below 2 percent. To illustrate the results of the forced response analysis, the calculated relative amplitudes at the tip of the blade trailing edge are shown over the exciting frequencies on the left side of Fig. 12. The trailing edge was chosen because it exhibits the highest airfoil oscillations for the first blade mode. The right side of Fig. 12 displays the dynamic stress distribution. Additionally, the resulting circumferential and axial forces imposed on the blade are indicated in Fig. 12. The calculated peak stress was validated with the help of strain gage measurements. In spite of the simple model of the blade loading, fairly good agreements for the highest measured and computed stresses are obtained. The differences were below 25 percent. This

are obtained. The differences were below 25 percent. This Fig. 13 turbocharger order Results of strain

Fig. 13

turbocharger order

Results of strain gage measurements around the sixth

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leads to the conclusion, that for the described example case three- dimensional effects are small and the value of the damping ratio was well chosen. To prove the numerical results Fig. 12, left diagram , measured vibration amplitudes are shown in Fig. 13. The similarity between the measured and calculated spectrums is obvious and shows the capability of the unidirectional coupled numerical procedure to predict vibrations of turbocharger turbine blades.

Summary and Outlook

The described numerical procedure developed at ABB Turbo Systems, Ltd., is an approach to support turbocharger blade design for predicting dynamic stresses. With the help of this unidirec- tional coupled method, a structural optimization can be achieved with respect to the blade excitation resulting from the fluid flow. Costly experiments required within the design procedure of reli- able turbine blades can then be reduced. In the first step the dy- namic loads of pulse charged turbines were emphasized. A simple model of the blade loading was assumed because only fundamen- tal blade mode shapes had to be considered. Qualitatively good agreement between experimental and numerical results was achieved. With respect to the simplifications, the quantitative agreement was satisfactory. In the next step of the research program, the modeling of the blade loading and, therefore the CFD modeling, has to be im- proved to give quantitative better results. Higher resolution of the pressure loading takes torsional effects into account, and is there- fore mandatory to be able to include higher mode shapes into the numerical design procedure. These mode shapes are possibly ex- cited by the nozzle guide vanes and contribute to the dynamic load of turbocharger turbine blades.


The authors would like to thank ABB Turbo Systems Ltd. for the encouragement and the permission to publish this work. The authors are also in debt of Dr. P. Neuenschwander, who performed the ‘‘SiSy’’ calculations.


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