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The Society shall not be responsible for statements or opinions advanced in papers or in discussion at meetings of the Society or of its Divisions or Sections, or printed in its publications.
Discussion is printed only it the paper is published in an ASME Journal. Papers are available
from ASME for fifteen months after the meeting.
Printed in USA.
Copyright 1989 by ASME

Gas Turbine Exhaust Expansion Joints, Diverter and

Damper Designs for the New Generation of Higher
Temperature, High Efficiency Gas Turbines

Bachmann Industries, Inc.
Lewiston. ME

Manager of Engineering
Bachmann Industries, Inc.
Lewiston, ME
The purpose of this paper is to update the industry on the evolutionary
steps that have been taken to address higher requirements imposed on the new
generation combined cycle gas turbine exhaust ducting expansion joints, diverter and damper systems. Since the more challenging applications are in the
larger systems, we shall concentrate on sizes from nine (9) square meters up to
forty (40) square meters in ducting cross sections. (Reference: General Electric
Frame 5 through Frame 9 sizes.)
Severe problems encountered in gas turbine applications for the subject
equipment are mostly traceable to stress buckling caused by differential expansion of components, improper insulation, unsuitable or incompatible mechanical design of features, components or materials, or poor workmanship.
Conventional power plant expansion joints or dampers are designed for
entirely different operating conditions and should not be applied in gas turbine
applications. The sharp transients during gas turbine start-up as well as the
very high temperature and high mass-flow operation conditions require specific designs for gas turbine application.

For purposes of stand-by generation traditional gas turbine plants were
mostly of the simple cycle type, comprised of a turbine with a single exhaust
stack and one expansion joint on the turbine neck. Temperatures on these
systems were between 400 and 450 degrees C. The ducting was of either carbon
steel or at best, low alloy CR MO steel. Insulation was usually attached externally.
In order to increase the efficiency of gas turbine power generation, the
exhaust gas is passed through a heat recovery steam generator. Thus, a steam
turbine is fed to generate power in addition to the gas turbine simple cycle.
This concept is known as "Combined Cycle Generation".
The duct system for this concept is more complex as it usually contains a
by-pass stack to atmosphere prior to the boiler or HRSG (Heat Recovery
Steam Generator). Dampers or flow diverters are needed to control bypass
and HRSG flow volume. There are a number of expansion joints and there
may also be transition pieces and a silencer.
The original damper choice for gas turbine service was a direct derivative
louver and guillotine damper combination previously designed for conventional power plant equipment. The temperatures in these gas turbines were 400
to 450 degrees C thus similar to the Economizer Outlet temperatures on coal
fired boilers of 300 to 375 degrees C. Very limited success in the smaller sizes
was achieved with this approach as the high transients in Gas Turbine startup have a major impact on components. The larger the frame sizes, the more
frequent failures were experienced.

Examples are louver damper blades, which are usually airfoil shaped and
with hollow sections where one skin faces the heat blast and one face downstream. As conductivity through the section is slow, immediate distorsion during start-up transients is unavoidable. Guillotine blades made of the traditional
plate and chain drive concept face a similar problem. Heat transfer through
the plate is gradual and thus the guillotine blade binds immediately in Turbine
start-up due to buckling, often permanently.
Expansion joints mounted on vertical structural channel members and
covered by flow liners also see distorsions in the hardware causing tearing of
the expansion joint membrane, and often immediate failure in start-up..
In recent times, sizes and efficiencies of combined cycle gas turbine plants
have increased and temperatures have now risen up to 600 degrees C in some
units with mass flow velocities up to 30 to 40 meters per second. Duct cross
sections are now between 8 and 40 square meters depending on turbine frame

Design Changes Addressing Gas Turbine Applications:

Serious redesign of damper and expansion jont concepts were necessitated
by the upward evolution in order to make the combined cycle concept reliable
and workable.
The initial change was to insulate the duct, damper and expansion joint
components internally in order to avoid stresses in the external component
walls. By better maintaining shape and rigidity, the physical accuracy of the
system was vastly improved.
In addition further development of gas turbine expansion joints was required in order to handle both thermal expansion movements as well as the
transition from externally insulated turbine connections to internally insulated
ducts and dampers.
Finally, two damper concepts evolved which will be discussed in detail as
follows with a discussion of gas turbine expansion joints to follow.
The two damper concepts:
1) Multi-Damper Flow Diverter Dystems
2) Single Blade Gas Flow Diverter Systems
The Multi-Damper Flow Diverter System (MDS) is comprised of a by-pass
"Tee" fitting, onto which a double louver or by-pass flap is mounted on the
by-pass side, and a single louver plus a guillotine damper on the boiler inlet
The Single Blade Gas Flow Diverter System (GFD) is comprised of the
same by-pass "Tee" fitting. However a single large blade, capable of modulating as well as alternately isolating the boiler inlet for turbine start-up and then
the by-pass for normal base load operation, is pivoted within that "Tee".
Before going into the comparative advantages and drawbacks of the two
above approaches, what must be undertaken is an examination of the mechan-

Presented at the Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and ExpositionJune

4-8, 1989 Toronto,

Ontario, Canada

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ical design steps that resulted finally in damper components suitable for high
temperature Gas Turbine Service.
Louver Damper Blades: The traditional or conventional air-foil was
changed to a flat-blade design, reinforced by a perforated, aerodynamically
shaped bent plate member. The reinforcing member is directed against the heat
source of the turbine exhaust blast. The perforations allow gas to flow through
the interior of the blade. Hence the flat-plate "cold side" of the blade heats
up simultaneous with the reinforcing member avoiding undesirable buckling.

Leak-tightness of Louver Dampers

With warpage and buckling kept to transient minimums and the sealing
system designed to accommodate residual inaccuracies as well as expansion
differentials occurring throughout operating cycles, Louver Damper leaktightness of approximately 0.25 to 0.50% of normal mass flow volume can be
achieved and maintained over a five year time period. Taken into consideration in the design life were stress relief and creep related changes in the various components as well as wear and tear, all very considerable.
Because of the relative leakage in the Louver damper design, Double Louver Dampers with a seal air curtain at 50mm WG above operating pressure
supplied between the two sets of louvers are placed in the by-pass stack in
order to avoid energy loss to atmosphere.

Guillotine Dampers have been re-designed as follows:












Seats: Traditional jamb-seals have been replaced with leaf-spring seals

mounted on the blades, seated on thermal expansion compensated bodymounted seats, thus allowing for minor transient distorsion, large thermal
blade growths while still maintaining full seating throughout all conditions.


FIG. 2

Body: The body is internally insulated with layered ceramic blankets on

stainless studs. An internal lining of 3 mm thick stainless steel tiles avoids
erosion of the insulation due to turbulent mass flow and further adds to the
insulating effectiveness. Frame members remain at cold or nearly cold conditions throughout all operating conditions.

FIG. 5

Blade: The blade is made up of a main frame and a matrix of stiffeners

with a recessed, stress absorbing membrane which is bolted into the main
frame. The stiffener matrix is located on the upstream side of the blade and
heat shielded with a ceramic blanket, and stainless tile system similar to the
inside surfaces of the ducting walls.
Body: The body is internally insulated to maintain a constant, low stress
condition in order to preserve accuracy in the frame members throughout all
cyclic conditions and stability over years of operating time.
Seal: The guillotine seal system consists of a novel concave blade periphery
riding on a convex body seat capped with a flexible seal element. This arrangement allows the blade to grow thermally across the seat without compromising
sealing quality and at the same time provides a double seal, resulting in a
configuration similar to having a double blade guillotine.






Drives and Components: Electro-mechanical actuation with self-locking
worm gear drive is preferred over pneumatic actuation as back-lash and vibration can be better controlled throughout all operating angles. Drive components are made up of back-lash inhibiting components, such as automotive
type ball joints, locking devices, pin secured blade operator arm to blade shaft
connections. etc.

FIG. 6

Drive: The drive system is a rack and pinion combination which is designed to positively actuate the blade open and close without binding or buckling.



I ono


FIG. 4



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Actuation: is by electro-mechanical actuator with a self-locking worm gear

system and with integrated limit and torque switches.

The disadvantages of the MDS approach are:

As the name infers, the dampers are a number of units which have to
perform separate functions in simultaneous operation, which means that all
controls must work perfectly. It has happened many times, that due to control
malfunction or equipment failure, both outlet ports (by-pass and HRSG) have
been accidentally blocked by closed dampers causing major system damage
under turbine operation.
One other disadvantage is economy. As the system is comprised of a
"Tee" fitting onto which the Multi-Damper arrangment has to be mounted to
make up a flow diverter system, all costs of the fitting and dampers have to
be evaluated against the cost of the alternative single blade GFD, Gas Flow
The above two (2) stated disadvantages of the Multi Damper System have
inspired an alternative type of diverter approach. The Single Blade Flow Diverter System, GFD Gas Flow Diverter.


The space provided inside the seal engagement is pressurized by a seal air
blower integrated into the guillotine unit, thus assuring absolute cross-blade
leak tightness.
This Multi-Damper Flow Diverter combination offers
Operation By-Pass: 0% leakage into the by-pass stack via the double louver
damper, preventing any energy loss.
HRSG Inlet: Modulation into the HRSG by means of a single modulation Louver Damper followed by a 0% leakage Isolation Guillotine damper, open-shut service, to isolate the
HRSG for simple cycle plant operation and or HRSG
repair and maintenance.




FIG. 11

FIG. 9

The advantages of the MDS, or multi-damper system approach, are:

the units are economical to transport, as the general face to face dimension
of the individual dampers are 18" for Guillotines and Single Louver
Dampers and 36" for Double Louver Dampers. Like the Expansion
Joints, they represent just slices of duct systems.

FIG. 10


Early attempts, mainly from upscaling small pivot actuated single blade
flow diverters, demonstrated the limitations in size capacity due to blade instability in operation at various blade operating positions. The large moments in
the pivot driven blades simply could not be managed. One way was to change
aspect ratios by going to rectangular cross-sections thus reducing moments.
This approach nevertheless could still not cover the very large turbine frame
sizes of today. Multiple blades have been used and resulted in duplicated
drives, operational complexity and increased costs.
A novel drive system was developed for large frame single blade Gas Flow
Diverter Systems which attaches to the center of the blade and operates the
single blade via a system of toggle arms. The blade center attachment location
of the drive arms largely reduces moments and thus results in smooth operation and modulation throughout the entire actuation stroke. The toggle arm
attachments are expansion compensated to allow for length changes in different operational positions.
The "Tee" body forms the major component and all other damper parts
are incorporated into the "Tee" body to form the total Flow Diverter Concept. To ensure low stress in the major, controlling components, the "Tee"
body is internally insulated with a high quality ceramic insulation and stainless
steel tile system. The blade is heat shielded to prevent energy loss to the atmosphere and to avoid radiation into the HRSG for worker safety.
Both by-pass and HRSG openings are equipped with double metallic leaf
spring seals to ensure 0% leakage when the blade is in either position and the
seal air is engaged.
The advantages of the GFD concept are
a) operational safety, as it is impossible to block both outlets with only
one blade, throughout all size ranges
b) economy as the "Tee" body concept incorporates all the damper components in one assembly, making this approach more economical as compared
to Multi-Damper Systems

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c) flexibility, as most large combined cycle power plants will preliminarily

operate on simple cycle until the HRSG island is installed (including steam
turbine generators, etc). This means that the Diverter "Tee" body can be installed and used during the simple cycle phase, then retrofitted with the flow
control components prior to the combined cycle operation. The "Tee" body
incorporates all the provisions for this retrofit and the change over can be
achieved in about 2-3 days.
d) The "Tee" body and all other damper parts are made of modulized
and shippable components and are designed for easy field assembly by bolting
and a mimimum amount of welding.
Based on the summarized advantages , the efficient internally insulated
Single Blade Gas Flow Diverter System approach is destined to be the more
and more adopted approach in combined cycle plants by major users in the
near future.







(Internally Insulated Ducting)





,' j , T' 7 ^




(External To Internally Insulated Ducting)


Gas Turbine Expansion Joints

At this point a brief discussion of gas turbine expansion joints will be

undertaken to illustrate the design complexity required to meet the demands

of today's high efficiency turbines.
The fact that gas turbine exhaust systems are made as compact as possible
leads to minimum installation gaps for expansion joints. Also, major system
components usually have varying metal temperatures plus different anchor
and mounting elevations, which requires that expansion joints in most cases
have to absorb not only axial but also lateral movement in vertical and horizontal directions.
Due to lateral movements and short face to face installation requirements,
non-metallic, high temperature fabric expansion joints are selected for this
duty. With today's advanced fabric expansion joint material technology, the
flexible element material technology is not the prime concern. The metallic
components and insulation configurations present the greatest challenge.
As actual operating temperatures experienced in gas turbine exhaust systems are usually between 850-1200F, (450 -650 )
The more difficult problems encountered are in the metal components of
the fabric expansion joints, such as flow liners and mounting flanges, which
suffer from thermal stress due mostly to the following:




(Externally Insulated Ducting)


Rapid temperature rise at turbine start up causes thermal shock and may
consequently crack the frames.
b.) Poor temperature distribution between liners and frames may cause binding, warping and cracking of liners and frames.
c.) Temperature differentials between externally and internally insulated
duct interphases, where the expansion joint becomes a transition element.
d.) Attachment of internal insulation is important to the free expansion of
all components to avoid binding and extensive stress.
e.) Poor expansion joint fabric mounting methods to metal mounting
flanges may cause early failure of the expansion fabric in the attachment
Three models are typically available:
Model GTEJ-1: Inlet and outlet side of expansion joint with internal insulation.
Model GTEJ-2: Inlet side of expansion joint with external insulation and outlet side with internal insulation for transition applications.
Model GTEJ-3: Inlet and outlet side of expansion joint with external insulation, mostly for small systems.

Most expansion joint applications in gas turbine ducting on large machines would be accommodated by Model GTEJ-1, where the gas turbine exhaust ducting is internally insulated, therefore the ducting itself runs cool.
Where the turbine connection runs hot, the expansion joint would act as
a transition element from hot externally insulated to cool internally insulated
ducting in most cases. Here Model GTEJ-2 applies.
On small systems, it is more practical and common to insulate the outside
of all components, therefore the expansion joint frames run hot and provisions
have to be made for external lagging attachment, hence Model GTEJ-3 applies.
The continuing trend to larger and more efficient or hotter gas turbines

along with increased use worldwide of the gas turbine plants will continue to
demand that expansion joints, gas flow diverters and damper systems successfully operate in one of the most challenging applications for this equipment
worldwide. Therefore, only the equipment which is specifically gas turbine

application engineered, designed and manufactured to the most finite detail

will be successful in the service required.
Gas Turbine Systems supplied without key consideration to the critical
diverter damper system and expansion joint equipment will continue to experience major plant shutdowns, operational disruptions and system inefficiencies.

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