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Rotodynamic Machines (Massey 13)

Types of machines
Impulse turbines—The Pelton Wheel
Reaction turbines—Francis turbine
Basic Equation for rotodynamic machinery (See 13.3.4)
Similarity laws and Specific speed for turbines
Performance characteristics of turbines
Rotodynamic pumps
Centrifugal pumps
Basic Equation applied to centrifugal pumps (see 13.4.2)
Similarity laws and specific speed for pumps
Performance characteristics of pumps
A fluid machine is a device either for converting the energy held by a fluid
into mechanical energy or vice versa.

Turbines and Pumps

A machine in which energy from the fluid is converted directly to the
mechanical energy of a rotating member is known as a turbine

If the initial mechanical movement is a reciprocating action, then the term

engine or motor is used.

A machine in which the transfer of energy is from the moving parts of the
machine to the fluid takes place is called a pump. The term "pumps" is used
when the fluid is a liquid.

When the fluid is a gas, terms such as compressors, or fans (or blowers) are

A compressor is a machine whose primary objective is to increase the

pressure of the gas. This is accompanied by an increase in the density of
the gas.

A fan or blower is a machine whose primary objective is to move the gas.
Static pressures remain almost unchanged, and therefore the density of the
gas is also not changed.

The essential principle of a rotodynamic machine is based on the tangential

velocities set up at its rotor. In turbines, the initial tangential momentum is
reduced by the rotor and thus work is done by the fluid on the rotor that is
then converted to useful power. In pumps, energy from the rotor is used to
impart (or increase) tangential momentum of the fluid, and the resulting
increase in tangential velocity is then converted to pressure energy.

Types of Machines

There are two types of turbines, the impulse and the reaction. In both
types the fluid passes through a runner having blades. The momentum of
the fluid in the tangential direction is changed and so a tangential force on
the runner is produced. The runner therefore rotates and performs useful
work, while the fluid leaves it with reduced energy.

For any turbine, the energy held by the fluid is initially in the form of

• Concerned with the power generated from a given head.
• Two types--impulse and reaction

1. Impulse Turbines
Conversion of the pressure to kinetic energy in a jet by allowing the fluid to
pass through nozzles. The jets of fluid impinge on the moving blades of the
runner where all of their kinetic energy is practically lost.

The Pelton Wheel Named after Lester A. Pelton (1829-1908), the Pelton
wheel is an efficient machine well suited to high heads (>500m). Maximum
power output is typically about 80 MW, but it can be as high as 400 MW.
Realizes efficiency as high as 80% largely due to improvement in the shape
of the vanes upon which the jet impinges. They are capable of working over a
wide range of conditions, a desirable characteristic for a turbine since they
cannot always work at full load.

Physical description: A circular rotor (frequently horizontally mounted)

with several spoon-shaped buckets evenly spaced round its periphery. One
or more nozzles are mounted so that each directs a jet along a tangent to
the circle through the centres of the buckets. Down the centre of each
bucket is a splitter ridge which divides the oncoming jet into two equal
portions and, after flow round the smooth inner surface of the bucket, the
fluid leaves it with a relative velocity almost opposite in direction to the
original jet.

The deflection of the jet leaving the bucket is limited to about 165°. While
180° is desirable, it will result in the leaving jet from one bucket interfering
with the neighbouring bucket.

Most of the energy is transmitted, as the absolute velocity of the fluid

leaving the bucket is small.

Useful power for generation is produced by the forces tangential to the

direction of whirl of the rotor, even though there may be other components
of forces resulting from the impact of the jet on the buckets. This force is
produced by the change in the absolute velocity component in the direction
of whirl (called the velocity of whirl). Refer to the diagram below for
erivation of the power generated by the velocity of whirl.

v1 u
u R1 v2 θ

Velocity vector diagram at inlet Velocity vector diagram at outlet

The change of the whirl component between the inlet and outlet is given by:

∆v w = v 1 − {u − R 2 cos(π − θ )} = R1 + R 2 cos(π − θ )
= R1 (1 + k cosθ )
mass flow rate = Qρ
Rate of flow of momentum = Qρ (∆v w )

Torque on wheel = Qρ (∆v w )r

Power output = Qρ (∆v w )rω = Qρ (∆v w )u

The energy at the wheel is in the form of kinetic of the jet and is given by
Qρv 12 per unit time.

So the wheel efficiency is given by:

Qρ (∆v w )u 2u (∆v w )
ηw = =
1 v 12
Qρv 1 2

Substituting for ∆v w from above and putting R1 = v 1 − u gives
2u (v 1 − u )(1 − k cosθ )
ηw =
v 12

The maximum efficiency is theoretically obtained when u = 0.5 . The

actual value is about 0.46 and an efficiency value between 0.85-0.9 results.

Loss of efficiency is due to:

• Energy to overcome friction in the bearings
• Energy to overcome friction between the wheel and the atmosphere

Note that the frequency of the power generated is linked to the angular
velocity of the wheel. Any changes in angular velocity will alter the
frequency of the electrical output.

The machine is designed to operate at maximum efficiency, and so even when

power demand drops, the machine is still required to operate at maximum

A reduction in required output would therefore have to be followed by a

proportional reduction in the input power. The input power can be controlled
by altering the initial velocity of whirl. But if this is altered, the optimal
ratio of u/v will change. Thus, to maintain efficiency v cannot be altered.
Reduction in the input power is achieved by reducing Q, the flow.

And since Q is reduced, to maintain the same velocity v, the area of the jet
must be reduced.

The cross-sectional area of the jet is achieved by means of a spear valve in

the nozzle

Design Considerations
Ratio of bucket width to jet diameter-- about 4 to 5
Ratio of wheel diameter to jet diameter--minimum of 10

2. Reaction Turbines
The Francis turbine was developed by James. B. Francis (1815-1892). It is a
radial-flow reaction turbine. Its components are described in the Massey
textbook; also see figure below. It is particularly suited for medium heads
(between 15m to 300m) and overall efficiencies exceeding 90% have been

Other types of pumps include the axial-flow turbine such as the Kaplan

Net head across a reaction turbine --This is the difference between the
head at inlet (gross head of the reservoir, less any losses along the pipeline
to the inlet) and the head at outlet from it (see diagram on right).

H= Total head at inlet to machine - Total head at discharge to tail race

Mechanism for generation of power in the Francis turbine: Fluid enters

the volute or scroll case and passes through the guide vanes mounted on the
runner. The fluid passes the blades of the runner where it is deflected and
so its angular momentum is changed. From the centre of the runner the
fluid is turned into the axial direction and flows to waste via the draft tube.

Note the shape of the volute. The cross-sectional area is decreasing along
the fluid path such as to keep the fluid velocity constant in magnitude. The
guide vanes direct the fluid on the runner at the angle appropriate to the
design. The angle of the vane can be changed to alter the flow rate and
hence the power output.

The lower end of the draft tube must be submerged below the level of the
tailrace to ensure that the turbine is full of water.

Basic Equation for Rotodynamic Machinery

v = absolute velocity of fluid
u = peripheral velocity of blade at point considered
R = relative velocity between fluid and blade
vw = velocity of whirl, i.e., component of absolute velocity of fluid in
direction tangential to runner circumference.
r = radius from axis of runner

ω = angular velocity of runner
Suffix 1 refers to conditions at inlet to runner
Suffix 2 refers to conditions at outlet from runner.

The power passed on to the runner from the fluid is due to the change in
tangential momentum. There may be changes of momentum in other
directions also, but the corresponding forces have no moments about the
axis of rotation of the rotor.


torque about given fixed axis = Rate of increase of angular momentum about axis

Therefore, the torque on the fluid must be equal to the angular momentum
of the fluid leaving the rotor per unit time minus the angular momentum of
the fluid entering the rotor per unit time.

Consider a small particle of mass δm at the inlet. Its momentum tangential

to the rotor is δmvw1, and its angular momentum is δmvw1r1.

If the mass flow rate is m & then the rate at which angular momentum passes
through a small cross-sectional area having uniform velocity vw1 and radius of
curvature r1 is δm
& v w1 r1

The total rate at which angular momentum enters the rotor is ∫ δm

& v w1 r1 .

Similarly, the rate at which angular momentum leaves the rotor is ∫ δm
& v w 2 r2
The rate of increase of angular momentum of the fluid is given by:

∫ v w 2 r2 dm& − ∫ v w1 r1dm&

From Newton's Third Law of Motion, the torque exerted on the rotor by the
fluid is:

T = ∫ v w1 r1dm
& − ∫ v w 2 r 2 dm

Above is known as the Euler's equation.

Note that the above equation involves initial and final state of the fluid. It
applies regardless of the path taken by the fluid between inlet and outlet;
also, it is independent of any losses occurring due to friction between the
blades and the fluid, changes of temperature.

For a rotor, the shaft work done in unit time interval is

Tω = ∫ v w1ωr1dm
& − ∫ v w 2 ωr 2 dm
= ∫ u1v w1dm
& − ∫ u 2 v w 2 dm

since u = ωr

The shaft work done by the fluid per unit mass is obtained by dividing the
above equation by the total mass flow rate m
& . Thus,

work done per unit mass of fluid =

( u v dm& − ∫ u2 v w 2 dm& )
& ∫ 1 w1

= u1v w1 − u 2 v w 2

if the products uvw are individually constant.

The energy available per unit mass of the fluid is gH, where H = the net

The (theoretical) hydraulic efficiency is:

u1v w1 − u 2 v w 2
Hydraulic efficiency = (if the products uvw are uniform).

Note, this is not the overall efficiency, because a fraction of this energy is
lost to overcome (for example) friction in the bearings.
Refer to the velocity diagrams above. The ideal condition, the one which
would minimise losses due to eddy formation, occurs when the relative
velocity at the inlet is in line with the inlet edge of the blade.

If there is an appreciable departure, the fluid is forced to change direction

suddenly, resulting in violent eddies and dissipation of energy as heat.

In rotodynamic machines, there is allowance made for different inlet

directions, and the favourable alignment can be achieved by adjusting the
direction of the guide vanes.

At the outlet, the direction of the relative velocity R2 is determined by the

outlet angle of the blade and the geometry of the outlet diagram then
determines the magnitude and direction of the absolute velocity v2.

For high efficiency, the velocity of the fluid at outlet, and hence the kinetic
energy, should be small. The desirable velocity at outlet is one without
whirl, that is, one that is perpendicular to the tangential velocity.

If such is achieved, then the hydraulic efficiency is given by:

u1v w1

Similarity Laws and Specific Speed

The development and utilization of turbomachinery in engineering practice
has benefited greatly from the application of dimensional analysis. It has
enabled turbine and pump manufacturers to test and develop a relatively
small number of turbomachines, and subsequently produce a series of
commercial units that cover a broad range of head and flow demands.

Geometric similarity is a pre-requisite of dynamic similarity. For fluid

machines the geometric similarity must apply to all significant parts of the

system—the rotor, the entrance and discharge passages and for a turbine,
the conditions in the tailrace or sump.

Machines that are similar in these respects form a homologous series.

Recall that dynamic similarity implies kinematic similarity, that is,

corresponding velocities in a constant ratio. The velocities represented in
the vector diagrams above in one machine must be similar to the vector
diagrams in the other machine.

If kinematic similarity (fixed ratio of velocities) and dynamic similarity

(fixed ratio of forces) exists, then certain dimensionless parameters
representing these ratios are the same for each of the systems being

For determining these dimensionless parameters, the following variables may

be considered:
Dimensional formula
D rotor diameter, here chosen as a suitable measure of [L]
the size of the machine
Q volume rate of flow through the machine [L3T-1]
N rotational speed [T-1]
H difference of head across machine, i.e., energy per [L]
unit weight
g Weight per unit mass [LT-2]
ρ density of fluid [ML-3]
µ viscosity of fluid [ML-1T-1]
P Power transferred between fluid and rotor [ML2T-3]

Keeping D, N and ρ as the repeating variables, the following groups have

been derived:

Q gH ρND 2 P
Π1 = Π2 = Π3 = Π4 =
ND 3 N 2D2 µ ρN 3 D 5

Refer once again to the vector diagram of the velocities, and recall that for
kinematic similarity, then the ratio of the velocities must be similar in both

Consider the ratio of the fluid and the blade velocities, v and u respectively
in the diagram.

The fluid velocity is given by Q/A and A is proportional to D2.

The blade velocity, u, is proportional to ND.


Π1 = D2

That is, kinematic similarity of two geometrically similar machines is

achieved if Q/ND3 (called the discharge number of flow coefficient) is the
same for each.

The product of Π 1 and Π 3 gives :  Q 2  Dρ  and if 2 is taken as the

 D  µ D
fluid velocity, then the product represents the Reynolds number.

An expression for the hydraulic efficiency can be obtained by combining the

power parameter Π 4 with Π 1 and Π 2 as Π 4
(Π 1 × Π 2 ) , which is: ρQgH

The relations connecting the variables may be written as:

 Q gH P 
φ1  , 2 2,  = 0
 ND N D ρN D
3 3 5

 gH P 
φ 2 η, 2 2 ,  = 0
 N D ρN D
3 5

Explanation of specific speed: For a turbine using a particular fluid, the

operating conditions are expressed by values of N, P and H. It is important
to know the range of these conditions covered by a particular shape of
turbine. With this information, we can decide on which turbine to choose.
We therefore need some parameter that can define all the machines

belonging to a particular homologous series, independent of the size
represented by D. That is to say, we need a parameter involving all the
operating conditions—N, P and H—but one that does not involve the size, D.
The size D can be eliminated by dividing (Π 4 ) 2 by (Π 2 ) 4 to give:
1 5

(gH ) 4
1 5
ρ 2

The specific speed for a turbine is defined as the speed at which the
turbine should operate to generate 1 KW from a 1 m head.

In computing the value it is customary to use values of N, P and H associated

with maximum efficiency.

For similarity of flow in machines of a homologous series, each Π parameter

must be unchanged throughout the series. If the dimensionless parameters
Π ’s are unchanged, then the specific speed, derived from the division of
two of these dimensionless parameters also much be unchanged. A
particular value of this parameter therefore relates all combinations of the
N, P and H for which the flow conditions are similar for that homologous

For a given homologous series, we are interested in the operating conditions

at which maximum efficiency occurs. Define a parameter Kn, the value of
the specific speed at which this occurs. So, whatever the operating
conditions—the values of N, P and H—all machines of a particular homologous
series have a particular value of Kn at maximum efficiency.

Traditionally, ρ, g are considered invariant—cold water is most times the

only fluid used in turbines, and we are concerned with operations on the
surface of the earth where g does not vary much from 9.81 m/s2. Thus the
specific speed is usually written without the ρ and g quantities and is of the
NP 2
H 4

Performance Characteristics of turbines
Under normal conditions, a turbine will be required to work with an almost
constant head. It may be desired to operate the machine under conditions
other than optimal. Therefore a plot, called the characteristic curve, is
developed that shows the manner in which discharge, power output and
efficiency changes with speed.

It is more useful to develop plots using the dimensionless parameters so

that the curves can be used not only for the turbine being tested but also
for other machines in the same homologous series. The parameters are:

, ,
ρD 2 (gH ) D 2 (gH ) (gH )
3 1 1
2 2 2

Basic Equations Applied to Centrifugal Pumps

Note the assumptions upon which the equations are based, namely, that flow
is steady, uniform velocities at inlet and outlet with respect to magnitude
and angle made with the radius. Note that the equation for the energy

imparted to the fluid by the impeller is similar to that for a turbine (above),
except the signs are reversed. It is,

work done on fluid per unit mass = u 2 v w 2 − u1v w1

This equation can be transformed to the following making use of the

expressions for R1 and R2:
work done on fluid per unit mass =
1 2
{( ) ( ) (
v 2 − v12 + u 22 − u12 + R22 − R12 )}
In the equation for work done on fluid, we may set vw1 to 0 as initially the
fluid approaches the impeller without any whirl. Thus the equation simplifies
work done on fluid per unit mass = u 2 v w 2
This energy increases the piezometric head of the fluid by an amount Hm,
called the manometric head. But the total energy supplied to the fluid (per
unit weight) to produce this head is given by u 2 v w 2 , which is known as the
Euler head. The ratio of the manometric head to the Euler head is known as
the manometric efficiency and is:
gH m
u2 v w 2

Similarity Laws and Specific Speed for Pumps

While quantities of primary interest for turbines are N, H, P, for pumps we
are more concerned with N, H and Q.

As had been done above for turbines, we can also derive an expression that
is independent of size, D. But just as we obtained an expression in N, H and
P for the turbines from the dimensionless parameters, we can also derive
Π1 2
for pumps an expression in N, H and Q from 3 . This gives:
NQ 2
Ns =
(gH )

The definition for the specific speed is the speed at which the pump
operating for discharging 1 m3/s of water against a head of 1 m.

From the dimensionless parameters given above for turbines, several useful
results can be derived for pumps. Consider the case for constant D (the
same pump under consideration but under different operating conditions)
and for ρ and g fixed, we get the following:
Π1 = ⇒ Q∝N
ND 3
Π 2 = 2 2 ⇒ H ∝ N2
Π4 = ⇒ P ∝ N3
ρN D
3 5

These relations are often known as the affinity laws for pumps and they
allow performance characteristics at any one speed to be converted to any
other speed.

Performance Characteristics of Pumps

Pumps normally run at constant speed, with the interest being the manner in
which the head H varies with discharge Q and the variation of efficiency
and power required with Q. Thus the characteristic curve resembles that
shown below.
A particular machine may be tested at a fixed head while the load (and
speed N) is varied, and for these results to be applicable to other pumps in
the same homologous series, the characteristic is plotted using the
Q gH P
dimensionless parameters , 2 2, in place of Q, H and P
ND N D ρN 3 D 5


Cavitation occurs when pressure falls below vapour pressure (at the
appropriate temperature). The liquid boils and bubbles form in large
numbers. At locations with higher pressure the bubbles collapse as the
vapour condenses. The liquid rushing in to fill the void collides at the centre
resulting in very high pressures (~1GPa).

This acting at or near solid surfaces can cause damage including fatigue
failure. This phenomenon is accompanied by noise and vibration.

Apart from physical damage, cavitation causes a reduction in the efficiency

of the machine.

Every effort must therefore be made to eliminate cavitation and this can be
done by ensuring that the pressure is everywhere greater than the vapour
pressure. (Air in solution is released as the pressure falls and this leads to
air cavitation.)

Conditions are favourable for cavitation where the velocity is high or the
elevation is high and particularly where both conditions occur. In reaction
turbines, the minimum pressure is usually at the outlet end of the runner
blade on the leading side. Between the minimum pressure point and the final
discharge point the following equation may be written:

pmin v 2 p
+ + z − hf = atm
ρg 2g ρg

v2 p p
− hf = atm − min − z
2g ρg ρg

For a machine being operated at a net head H across the machine, a

parameter σ c can be defined such that

− pmin −z
ρg ρg
σc =
For cavitation not to occur, pmin must be greater than the vapour pressure,
pv, that is

patm pv
− −z
ρg ρg
σ > σ c where σ =

The above expression is known as Thoma's Cavitation Parameter. The

expression can be used to determine the maximum elevation zmax of the
turbine above the tail water to avoid cavitation and is:
z max = atm − pv − σ cH
ρg ρg

Pumps in Series and in Parallel (Discussed in class)