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Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316

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A methodology for designing Francis runner blade to find minimum

sediment erosion using CFD
Krishna Khanal a, *, Hari P. Neopane b, Shikhar Rai a, Manoj Thapa a, Subendu Bhatt a,
Rajendra Shrestha a
Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Kathmandu University, Nepal

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Sediment particles, especially quartz which has very high hardness factor, flowing along with water
Received 23 June 2015 erodes turbo machinery parts such as guide vanes, runner, draft tube etc. Among them runner is very
Received in revised form crucial part, so its design should be optimum for minimum erosion by maintaining the highest possible
15 October 2015
Accepted 15 October 2015
Available online xxx
This paper reports on methodology for designing Francis runner blade. This involves finding best
outlet angle (b2) and blade angle distribution (b-distribution) causing minimum possible erosion for
given volume flow rate (Q ¼ 14.34 m3/s), head (H ¼ 40 m), rpm (N ¼ 333.33 rpm) and eroding particle
Francis turbine
flow rate (0.08 kg/s). At first, the outlet angle b2 (designing parameter) was varied from 14 to 32 using
Erosion linear blade angle distribution for all models. Then these models were simulated to find b2. In second,
Efficiency with that b2, blade angle distribution was varied and simulated to find the best blade angle distribution
b-distribution having minimum erosion rate with considerable efficiency. By using hydrodynamic theory for given Q
and H, main dimensions were found out and 3D model was generated using b-distribution. Relation of
designing parameters with erosion and efficiency was made. Optimum blade was obtained from pro-
posed methodology and was compared with the reference blade in terms of erosion and efficiency.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction runner is completely dipped in water and covered by various

mechanical parts like wicket gates, guide vanes and spiral casing.
The hydroelectric projects in the Himalayan range of Nepal is This makes the visualization of the flow very difficult in the
facing severe silt erosion problem in turbines, which over a runner and very special arrangements and experimental setup is
period of time significantly reduce the overall efficiency of hy- required to study the flow inside the Francis turbine. However,
dropower. Erosion is complex process which depends upon the with the advent of CFD techniques the studies of the flow inside
number of factors such as particle hardness, size, shape, con- such complex structure have been made easy. CFD has been
centration, velocity of water, base material of turbine, etc. [1]. widely used in the field of turbo-machineries and hydraulic
Erosion in run-of-river is more challenging than that of reservoir turbines. CFD tools specially for solving turbo-machineries'
type. Rivers contain very high sediment concentration, especially problems have been developed and lots of researches related to
quartz, during the monsoon season. Quartz is one of the hydraulic turbines and turbo-machineries have been done with
extremely hard particle which causes mechanical wear on the CFD.
turbo components due to dynamic action of particles flowing Francis turbine is widely used in many hydropower of Nepal
along water [2]. and some researchers have studied the erosion problem in un-
Studying the dynamics of a Francis turbine has been a chal- derwater turbo machines and suggested the recommendation on
lenging and costly job. As Francis turbine is a reaction turbine, its reducing erosion. Thapa et al. summarizes the standard pro-
cedures used for design of high head turbines and explained the
effect of design parameters on sediment erosion in Francis run-
ner [3]. Shrestha et al. presents the alternative new way in
* Corresponding author. Francis turbine design with less erosion impact by incorporating
E-mail address: (K. Khanal).
0960-1481/© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
308 K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316


b1 Inlet blade angle

b2 Outlet blade angle
B Runner height, [m]
C Absolute velocity, [m/s]
D Runner diameter, [m]
U Peripheral velocity, [m/s]
W Relative velocity, [m/s]
N Synchronous speed, [rpm]
Cm Meridian component of C, [m/s]
Cu Tangential component of C, [m/s]
h Efficiency, [-]
1 Inlet section
2 Outlet section

the application of CFD, FEM and FSI at different stages [4]. Neo-
pane et al. presents the laboratory study of particle velocity
measurement in highly swirl conditions similar to turbine flow in Fig. 1. Axial view of runner.
curved path [5]. Thapa et al. studied the relation between blade
angle distribution of runner blade and the erosion rate [6].
Gaungjie et al. investigated the relation between the wear rates
on the surface of runner blade and guide vane and the sediment
concentration, and analyzed the distribution of wear rates for
normal turbine operating condition [7].
The main objective of the research is to propose a method-
ology which minimizes the erosion in Francis runner blade by
considering efficiency. This research also aims to obtain the
relation of designing parameters with erosion and efficiency so
that it can help in prediction of designing parameters for any
analogous case. Based on the methodology, this paper intends to
propose an optimum blade and compare result with reference
blade. For this, Devighat Hydropower Plant (DHP) with head
(H) ¼ 40 m, volume flow rate (Q) ¼ 14.34 m3/s, speed
(N) ¼ 333.33 rpm situated at Nuwakot district of Nepal was taken
as the reference site. This study focuses on the erosion of the
Francis runner blade for design condition (not for partial and full
load condition) without considering the effect of guide vanes and
draft tubes. Coalesced effect of erosion and cavitation was also
not included in this study.
Fig. 2. Velocity triangle.

2. Blade design and sediment theory

D2, U2, U1, D1, B and b1 are calculated from following relations [3].
2.1. Francis turbine design
Francis turbine is operated by utilizing the potential energy of D2 ¼ P:Cm2
the storage water partially into the kinetic energy and partially into N ¼ 60.U2/(P.D2)
pressure energy. The water enters the turbine radially, imparts Cm2 ¼ U2.tan (b2)
energy to the runner blades and leaves axially. It works above at- h ¼ (U1Cu1  U2Cu2)/(gH)
mospheric pressure and will be fully immersed in water. If there are Rearranging we have
sediment particles in the water flow during energy transfer process, qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
D2 ¼ 3 p2 :N:tanðb Þ
then it will strike turbine and erode the surface to the turbine. 2

The turbine design calculations are based on hydraulic param- U2 ¼ (P.D2.N)/60

eters head (H) and discharge (Q). Velocity triangle at inlet and Cm1 ¼ Cm2/1.1 (10% meridional acceleration)
outlet of the runner are used in design process. Fig. 1 shows the C1 ¼ ð1  reaction degreeÞ:2gH (reaction degree 0.5 chosen)
axial view of runner and Fig. 2 shows the velocity triangle at inlet
Cu1 ¼ C 21  C 2m1
and outlet of the Francis runner blade.
The dimensioning of the outlet starts with assuming no U1 ¼ hgH/Cu1 (whirl component at outlet is zero and h assumed
rotational speed at best efficiency point (BEP) i.e. Cu2 ¼ 0. Outlet to be 0.96)
angle (b2) is selected from 14 to 32 and calculations were made D1 ¼ (60.U1)/(PN)
as: B ¼ Q/(PDCm1)
Known parameters are Q, N, H and b2. Unknown parameters like b1 ¼ tan1(Cm1/(U1  Cu1))
K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316 309

2.2. Wear mechanism and erosion model divided by the mass of particle), Vp is the particle impact velocity, g
is the impact angle in radians between the approaching particle
Damages in hydro power turbines are mainly caused by cavi- track and the wall, go being the angle of maximum erosion, k1 to k4,
tation problems, sand erosion, material defects and fatigue. In k12 and go are model constants and depend on the particle/wall
general, wear mechanisms can be classified in three categories; material combination.
mechanical, chemical and thermal actions. In hydraulic turbine
mechanical wear of main concern. 3. CFD analysis
There are three types of mechanical wear; abrasive, erosive and
cavitation wear. Abrasive and erosive are due to particles on the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is one of the branches of
fluid flow, while cavitation is caused by the collapse of bubbles on fluid mechanics that uses numerical methods and algorithms to
the surface. Abrasive wear is defined as the loss of material by the solve and analyze problems that involve fluid flows. The numerical
passage of hard particles over a surface. Erosive wear is caused by solution of NaviereStokes (NS) equations in CFD usually implies a
the impact of particles against a solid surface. Fig. 3 shows the discretization method: it means that derivatives in partial differ-
schematic images of four representative wear modes. ential equations are approximated by algebraic expressions which
CFX solver has two inbuilt erosion model in it, namely: Finnie can be either obtained by means of the finite-difference or the
and Tabakoff model. Tabakoff and Grant Erosion Model [9] was finite-element method or finite-volume method. The result is a set
preferred. Erosion rate E is determined from the following relation: of algebraic equations through which mass, momentum, and en-
h i ergy transport are predicted at discrete points in the domain. The
E ¼ k1 $f ðgÞ$Vp2 $Cos2 ðgÞ 1  R2T þ f ðVPN Þ governing equations are non-linear and coupled; several iterations
of the solution loop must be performed before a converged solution
where is obtained. Millions of calculations are required to simulate the
interaction of fluids and gases with complex surfaces. However,
  p 2
even with simplified equations and high speed supercomputers,
f ðgÞ ¼ 1 þ k1 k12 sin g only approximate solutions can be achieved in many cases [10].
The CFD software includes the package to model the fluid flow
phenomena under the turbulent models. Usually turbulent nu-
RT ¼ 1  k4 Vp sin g
merical simulation consists of two main parts, namely: Direct Nu-
 4 merical Simulation (DNS) and Indirect Numerical Simulation (INS).
f ðVPN Þ ¼ k3 Vp sin g DNS has a precise calculated result, but the whole range of spatial
and temporal scales of the turbulence must be resolved which re-
quires a very small time step size. So, this is not suitable for CFD
1:0 if g  2go
k2 ¼ simulation. There are three different types of simulated methods
0:0 if g > 2go
under the Indirect Numerical Simulation which are large eddy
Here, E is the dimensionless mass (mass of eroded wall material simulation (LES), Reynolds-averaged NaviereStokes (RANS) and

Fig. 3. Schematic images of four representatives wear mode [8].

310 K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316

Table 1
Rate of erosion.

SN Test duration (min) Rate of erosion (mg/gm/min)

1 40 0.28
2 80 0.21
3 125 0.27
4 170 0.24
5 215 0.32
6 260 0.30
7 305 0.26
8 350 0.35
Average 0.28

"  #
vðrkÞ v   v mt vk 0
þ rUj k ¼ mþ þ Pk  b rku þ Pkb
vt vxj vxj sk3 vxj
Fig. 4. Head versus mesh elements.
"  #
vðruÞ v   v mt vu
þ rUj u ¼ mþ
vt vxj vxj su3 vxj
detached eddy simulation (DES). RANS is the oldest and most
common approach to turbulence modeling. The equation of 1 vk vu u
þ ð1  F1 Þ2r þ a3 Pk
Reynolds-averaged NaviereStokes (RANS) is defined as: su2 u vxj vxj k
 b3 ru2 þ Pu b
" ! #
DUi vP v vUi vUj The proper transport behavior can be obtained by a limiter to
r ¼ þ m þ  ru0i u0j
Dt vXi vXj vxj vxi the formulation of eddy-viscosity:

The left hand side of the equation describes the change in mean a1 k
momentum of fluid element and the right hand side of the equation vt ¼
maxða1 u; SF2 Þ
is the assumption of mean body force and divergence stress. ru;i u;j is
an unknown term and called Reynolds stresses. Due to the aver- where
aging procedure information is lost, which is then feed back into
the equations by turbulence model [9]. vt ¼ mt =r
The shear-stress transport (SST) k-u model [9] was developed by
Menter to effectively blend the robust and accurate formulation of
the k-u model in the near-wall region with the free-stream inde- 3.1. Mesh independent test
pendence of the k-ε model in the far field. To achieve this, Baseline
(BSL) k-w model, which combines advantages of Wilcox k-w and k- Since the results would be numerical approximation using CFX
ε model, is provided with the proper transport behavior to limit the solver, the numerical analysis was done to check the numerical
over prediction of eddy viscosity. The equations are: stability and accuracy of the simulation.
BSL model: Mesh independence test was done for the selection of number

Fig: 5. (a) Test specimen before test. (b) Test specimen after 350 min. (c) Result of CFD analysis d) Runner of JHC [12].
K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316 311

Fig. 8. Illustrating Curvature position and Curvature percentage.

were compared.
Fig. 6. 3D model obtained in BladeGen. The observation for wear pattern was made with painted sur-
face. After running the apparatus for half an hour, it was observed
of elements in a domain so that the result does not vary signifi- that paint in some location of blade surface was removed. Fig. 5(a)
cantly with increase in the mesh size. This method helps to obtain and (b) shows the wear pattern in test specimen. The painted
minimum number of mesh elements which saves the computation surface has been found to be scratched severely in the outlet region
time without deviating from the accuracy. of blade while some minor scratches have also been observed
Head was chosen as observant parameter. Fig. 4 shows the throughout the blade surface.
relation of head and mesh elements. Since, the change in head is It can be seen that the erosion damage is mostly located in the
not so different for more than 600,000 elements. But for the con- far outlet region near to the edge of the blade. The location of paint
venience and fast computation study was carried out at removal is identical to the pattern of wear observed in the turbines
300,000 mesh elements with an error of only 0.2 m (with respect to operating in real cases. Fig. 5(d) shows the wear observed in the
600,000 elements). runner blades of JHC, which is also observed most severe in the
outlet region of the blades. The wear pattern observed during the
experiment is also quite similar to the pattern which has been
3.2. CFD validation [12] predicted from the CFD analysis.
Table 1 shows the rate of erosion in the specimens for each test.
CFD validation was made by referencing with the experiment The average rate of erosion was found to be 0.28 mg/gm/min, which
performed at Turbine Testing Lab, Kathmandu University, Nepal. A explains that in average, 0.28 mg of material was worn out of 1 g of
test rig called rotating disc apparatus has been developed and test specimen in a minute of operation. It can also be observed that
installed in Turbine Testing Laboratory for carrying out sediment the overall trend of the erosion rate is increasing with the total
erosion test in Francis runner blades. The main purpose of this test duration of the test run.
rig was to compare the wear pattern appearing in test specimens CFD results of JHC and DHP will be compared in result and
with the result of the CFD as well as with the wear pattern observed discussion section so as to confirm the validation of this study.
in turbine operating in real case.
For experiment, hydraulic parameters of Jhimruk Hydropower 3.3. Methodology
Center (JHC) were taken and blade profile of the Francis runner
blade has been modeled. The CFD results, test results and real case In general there are two approaches to runner design; the direct

Fig. 7. Linear b-distribution, Concave downward b-distribution, Concave upward b-distribution.

312 K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316

method and the inverse method. This study uses the direct method,
which begins by setting Q, H and N. Main dimensions such as inlet
diameter, outlet diameter, inlet height, inlet blade angle and outlet
blade angle of runner geometry were obtained by using basic hy-
drodynamic theory [3]. The modeling of the turbine include
creating 2D view in the BladeGen software, which is then converted
into the 3D view by applying the beta distribution. Fig. 6 shows a 3D
model blade obtained in BladeGen.
The 3D Models are created in two ways in two parts:

A) Method on Varying outlet angle:

Design parameter b2 was chosen from 14 to 32 with
difference of 2 i.e. 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32. Ten
models were created with linear beta distribution and
simulated to find out best outlet angle.
B) Method on Varying b-distribution: Fig. 9. Mesh obtained from Turbogrid.
From the best outlet angle obtained on (A) part, b-dis-
tributions were varied as shown in the Fig. 7.
where, ut ¼ tu/r1/2 is the friction velocity, Dy is the distance from
M-prime is defined as the non-dimensional parameter showing wall to the first mesh node and tu is the wall shear stress.
the position of streamline of blade from leading edge. It ranges from Theoretically, a mesh resolution of yþ < 2 is required for the SST
0 to 1; 0 represents the Leading Edge (LE) and 1 represents the model to accurately solve the viscous sub-layer. However, such a
Trailing Edge (TE). Values from 0 to 1 show the point in streamline low yþ value is hard to obtain for a Francis turbine runner blade. To
of blade how far from the leading edge. reduce computational cost, wall function is used to approximate
For the quantification of concave downward and concave upward, the near-wall flow.
new terms named as curvature percentage and curvature position In this study, under Boundary layer refinement control edge
(same as M-prime) were defined. Certain percentage of angle is refinement factor of 2.25 was set to adjust the mesh size. Yþ
increased at certain M-prime from the linear b-distribution to form method with Reynolds number 106 was chosen under near wall
concave downward distribution (positive curvature percentage) and element size specification. Yþ at hub and shroud was maintained at
certain percentage of angle is decreased at certain M-prime from the 150 which is in the range of 20e200 for Francis turbine runner as
linear b-distribution to form concave upward (negative curvature recommended by Gjfsæster [11]. Mesh elements number range of
percentage). Beizer curve points in the BladeGen were created to form 300,000e320,000 (obtained from mesh independence test shown
b-distribution. Fig. 8 describes the various terms such as curvature at Section 3.1) in whole domain was made. The inlet and outlet
percentage, curvature position (M-prime), b1 and b2. At LE, inlet blade radius of the blade was on range 470e675 mm and 600e815 mm
angle is b1 and at TE, outlet blade angle is b2. respectively depending upon outlet angle (designing
Nine curvature position (0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8, 0.9) parameter).
with eleven curvature percentage (35%, 25%, 15%, 5%, 5%, 0%,
15%, 25%, 35%, 45%, 55%), total 91 models (blade with 0% is same for
all curvature position), were analyzed for the erosion and efficiency
of blade. Positive curvature percentage at all curvature position Boundary conditions:
produces concave downward b-distribution whereas negative Analysis type: Steady State Analysis
curvature percentage at all curvature position produces concave Fluid and particle Definition: Water, Quartz
Reference pressure: 1 atm
upward b-distribution. Beta-distribution of each blade was created
Erosion model: Tabakoff erosion model
by BladeGen. Eroding material: Quartz
Relation of curvature position (x) and curvature percentage (y): Blade material: Steel
For each curvature position (x), angle deviation (D) from the Average diameter of quartz: 0.12 mm (Bastakoti et al., 2011)
linear blade angle is given by: Shape factor: off
Turbulence model: SST model
y Drag force: Schiller Naumann
D¼ *ðb  b2 Þ Volume flow rate: 14.34 m3/sec
100 1 Flow direction: Cylindrical Components for sand also
Number of Position: 5000
Mass flow rate of quartz: 0.08 kg/s
Convergence Criterion: 1e-5 residual
Wall function: automatic
3.3.1. Domain and meshing
Since very large number of mesh elements is needed to simulate
the Francis turbine, the domain with only one passage is created. 3D The automatic wall treatment allows a consistent yþ insen-
model from BladeGen is imported to Ansys Turbogrid for meshing. sitive mesh refinement from coarse grids, which do not resolve
Fig. 9 shows the mesh obtained from the Turbogrid. the viscous sub-layer, to fine grids placing mesh points inside
The mesh resolution is defined by yþ values, which is a non- the viscous sub-layer [9]. CFX solver was used to solve the
dimensional parameter describing the distance from the wall to domain.
the nearest node.
3.4. Result and discussion
yþ ¼
At first erosion and efficiency relation with b2 was observed and
best b2 was chosen. From Figs. 10 and 11, erosion as well as
K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316 313

Table 2
Detail of runner inlet.

Position Hub Mean Shroud

Circumferential speed (m/sec) 22.2 23.64 26.08

Circumferential component of the 18.7 18.7 18.7
absolute velocity (m/sec)
Blade angle b1 (degree) 63.04 54.4 43.05

Table 3
Detail of runner outlet without swirl.

Position Hub Mean Shroud

Circumferential speed (m/sec) 12.18 17.46 27.06

Blade angle b2 (degree) 31.94 23.52 15.68

Fig. 10. Erosion vs b2.

The hub and shroud curve were chosen arbitrarily and also the
leading edge and trailing edge of blade were made as shown in
Fig. 12. Each of the stream line has different inlet blade angle b1 and
different outlet blade angle b2. Table 2 and Table 3 summarize the
inlet and outlet blade angle at hub, mean and shroud of the blade.
All the dimension of geometry such as leading edge, trailing
edge, hub, shroud, b1 and b2 were kept same but blade angle dis-
tribution (b-distribution) from leading to trailing edge were varied.
Such variation was done to produce 91 blade models.
91 models were simulated and their erosion and efficiency
pattern was observed. Erosion was not the absolute measurement
but only the relative one. The relation of erosion and efficiency with
blade profiles was obtained from these simulations. Also the opti-
mum blade having minimum erosion relative to other blades
without compromising the efficiency was selected and was then
compared to the reference one.
Fig. 11. Efficiency Vs b2.
Fig. 13 shows the relation between erosion and curvature per-
centage for all curvature position. As maximum erosion take place
efficiency of b2 ¼ 14 and b2 ¼ 16 were nearly same and were best at single dot point on the blade and contribute more than 60% of
than others. It can be noticed from the graph that erosion tends to total erosion, so, y-axis is set as total erosion minus maximum
increase as outlet angle increases and efficiency tends to decrease erosion and this compares the blade models effectively. The figure
with increase in outlet angle with some irregularities. By consid- reveals that erosion is relatively high at 35% curvature and higher
ering the manufacturing complexity, b2 ¼ 14 is relatively difficult values of curvature position also has higher erosion. For example,
to manufacture than b2 ¼ 16 . So b2 ¼ 16 was selected as best b2 0.9 curvature position has highest erosion at 35%, 55% curvatures.
whose corresponding b1 ¼ 43 . Although there is no exact regular pattern of erosion according to
Different blade profile of selected outlet angle (b2 ¼ 16 ) was curvature percentage, it can be seen that the trend of erosion de-
produced and then the result was plotted. Fig. 12 shows meridional creases as we shift from negative curvature to zero curvature but
view of Francis runner including the main dimension of the blade positive curvatures has almost same value of erosion with small
used in the simulation. fluctuation for all curvature position. It was observed that the
erosion increased with the increase of curvature towards the
trailing edge; that is at 0.9, 0.85, 0.8 have generally higher erosion
than other curvature positions.
Fig. 14 shows the representative graph for the erosion verses
curvature position. The plot shows that erosion increases as the
curvature is shifted towards trailing edge. It can also be seen that
larger area is eroded when the curvature position is shifted toward
trailing edge as the value of total minus maximum erosion is larger
when the curvature is near trailing edge.
It is necessary to observe the efficiency of the models to deter-
mine the appropriate blade for specific hydro site. Fig. 15 shows the
efficiency verses curvature percentage for all curvature positions.
The graph shows that efficiency at negative curvatures is almost
constant with small deviation but there is significant variation to-
ward positive curvatures. Blade models with curvature position
greater than 0.45 have regular decrease in efficiency as curvature
percentage increases from zero but other curvature position show
some irregularity in efficiency as curvature percentage increases
from zero. The notable point is that the efficiency is higher at
Fig. 12. Meridional view of runner blade showing main dimensions of b2 ¼ 16o. trailing edge (near 0.9 position) for negative curvature percentage
314 K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316

Fig. 13. Erosion verses Curvature percentage for all curvature position.

Table 4
Erosion and efficiency of reference and optimum blade.

Blade Erosion Efficiency

Reference 1.7e-6 kg/m2/s 95.46%

Optimum 5.4E-8 kg/m2/s 95.21%

3.4.1. Optimum blade and comparison

By observing erosion and efficiency plot, an optimum blade was
chosen based on minimum erosion considering performance cri-
terion. The blade model with 25% curvature at 0.25 curvature po-
sition was chosen as optimum blade. Table 4 shows the comparison
of erosion and efficiency.
Although the efficiency of reference blade is slightly higher
(0.25%) than that of optimum one, the erosion rate in optimum
Fig. 14. Erosion (total-maximum) verses Curvature position. blade is about 31.5 times less than reference blade. So, in almost all
cases, it is beneficial to sacrifice insignificant efficiency loss to
prevent the blade from severe erosion and hence, to increase the
but has minimum efficiency for leading edge curvature (near 0.1 life of blade for considerable period.
position). This trend reverses after zero curvature; that is curvature The shape of beta-distribution of optimum blade is similar to
at leading edge has higher efficiency compare to those having shape obtained by Thapa et al. [6]. Figs. 16 and 17 shows the
curvature at trailing edge. comparison of erosion between the reference blade and the

Fig. 15. Efficiency verses Curvature percentage for all Curvature position.
K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316 315

Fig. 16. Erosion on the pressure and suction side of reference blade respectively.

Fig. 17. Erosion on the pressure and suction side of optimum blade respectively.

optimum one respectively. Red color shows the eroded area on the 3.4.3. Comparison of DHP and JHC [3].
blade. The figures clearly shows that erosion is significantly less in CFD results of this study (DHP) were compared to the referenced
optimized blade compare to the reference one. In optimized blade, JHC results.
pressure side has only some small dots of erosion and has no more Tables 5e7 shows the comparison table of DHP blade (reference
erosion in the suction side. blade) and JHC blade. Although there are some difference in the
input parameters (like shape factors, flow rate), these do not
3.4.2. Blade profile comparison changes the result pattern significantly. So, it can be said that the
Fig. 18 shows blade profile comparison of optimum and refer- rotating disc apparatus experiment performed for JHC blade can be
ence blade. Red color profile is the optimized blade where as black taken as a reference material for DHP blade to confirm CFD results.
color profile is the reference blade.
4. Conclusion and recommendation

This study has showed a methodology for designing Francis

runner blade from starting point by taking flow rate, head and rpm
as designing parameter to optimized blade having minimum
erosion. From the results, it is concluded that blade profile having
25% curvature percentage at 0.25 curvature position is considered as
optimum blade. Although this optimized blade has 0.25% less effi-
ciency than reference one, significant decrease in erosion rate has
been observed; numerically, erosion rate is 31.5 times less than the
reference blade with considerable reduction in erosion area. Thus, it
has been proved that significant improvement can be made to
minimize erosion while maintaining efficiency by changing the
runner blade profile and hence, increase the life of runner blade.
From the charts shown, it can also be deduced that increasing outlet
angle above 200, in general, increases the erosion and decreases
efficiency. Even if there are some irregularities, erosion is relatively
Fig. 18. Blade profile comparison of optimum and reference blade. higher at negative curvature (concave upward) than positive
316 K. Khanal et al. / Renewable Energy 87 (2016) 307e316

Table 5 [3] Biraj Singh Thapa, Mette Eltvik, Kristine Gjosaeter, Ole G. Dahlhaug,
General parameters for CFX-Pre. Bhola Thapa, Chiang Mai, Design optimization of francis runner for sediment
handling, Int. J. Hydropower Dams (2012). Thailand, 1e9.
Parameter DHP JHC [4] Krishna Prasad Shrestha, Bhola Thapa, Ole Gunnar Dahlhaug, Hari P. Neopane,
Biraj Singh Thapa, Innovative design of Francis turbine for sediment laden
Turbulence SST SST
water, in: TIM International Conference, 2012. KU, Nepal.
Flow state Steady Steady
[5] Hari Prasad Neopane, Bhola Thapa, Ole Gunnar Dahlhaug, Particle velocity
Flow type Inviscid Inviscid measurement in swirl flow, laboratory studies, Kathmandu Univ. J. Sci. Eng.
Erosion model Tabakoff Tabakoff Technol. 8 (2012). KU, Nepal.
[6] Biraj Singh Thapa, Amod Panthee, Hari Prasad Neopane, Some application of
computational tools for R&D of hydraulic turbines, Renew. Nepal (2011). KU,
Nepal, 1e5.
Table 6 [7] Peng Guangjie, Wang Zhengwei, Xiao Yexiang, Luo Yongyao, Abrasion pre-
Parameters for CFX-pre sediment data. dictions for Francis turbines based on liquidesolid two-phase fluid simula-
tions, Eng. Fail. Anal. Sci. (2013). China, 327e335.
[8] Koji Kato, Koshi Adachi, Wear Mechanisms, 2001.
Material Quartz Quartz [9] Ansys 14.5 CFX Solver Theory Guide, 2009.
Diameter 0.12 mm 0.1 mm [10] S. Khanna, CFD Analysis of Supercritical Airfoil over Simple Airfoil, 2011.
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Table 7
Result from CFX-post erosion analysis.

Parameter DHP JHC

Sediment erosion 1.7E-6 kg/m2/s 3.0E-7 kg/m2/s

Efficiency 95.46% 95.05%
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