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# STABILITY OF SURGE TANKS

## According to Thoma automatically governed turbines, the surge tank will be

hydraulically stable only if the horizontal cross sectional area of the surge tank
exceeds a certain minimum value, otherwise, the instability will result. The water
level in the surge tank begins to oscillate & these oscillations are stable or unstable
depending upon the parameters of the power plant and the type and magnitude of the
disturbance.
For practical purposes, oscillations are said to be stable if they dampen to the final
steady state in a reasonable time and unstable if their magnitude increases with time.
In addition to oscillating instability, a condition called tank drainage has to be
avoided in the surge tank design. In this case, when the flow is demanded due to
increase in load, it should not accelerate to an extent of sucking the air from
atmosphere into tunnel / penstock.
There are four cases of change in the turbine flow are of interest. viz.,
(i) constant flow
(ii) constant gate opening
(iii) constant power
(iv) constant power combined with full gate opening.
There are three governing equations ,viz., the dynamic equation, continuity equation
and governor equation which may be applied to any general case. These equations
can be expressed in single form as

( ) ( ) 0 z t
dt
dz
t
dt
z d
2
2
= + +
Governor equation which is function of Q and z is represented by (Q, z)=0
Q=constant function represents a straight line II in fig 3.7. The discharge Q is given
by eq..

( )
H
z H
Q Q
o
+
=
2
This function may be represented by the curve I as shown in fig 3.7. If the above
equation is approximated by a series and neglecting the higher order terms, reduces
to

+ =
H 2
z
1 Q Q
o
( 4.39 )

III
II
I
Q
b
I
b
II
+Z
C
IV
I Eq. 3.23
II Q = constant
III Instability occurs in this case
IV Governer equation 3.25

Governor characteristics

Similarly, the governor equation for constant power output will be

( ) z H
H Q
= Q
o o o
+

( 4.40 )
in which

,
o
are efficiency at instant of time and rated efficiency of turbine
respectively
Qo is the rated discahrge .
H, H
o
The above equation is represented by a falling curve such as IV in Fig 3.7
For constant discharge ,the oscillations will be stable if friction is taken into account.
Oscillations will also be stable whatever the area of cross section of the surge tank if
3
the governor equation is represented by the rising curve. Instability will occur when
it is falling curve such as curve III or IV.

Governing equations for stability of simple surge tank.
Using the Eqn 3.10 and 3.3 along with Eqn. 3.23

( ) C z H Q

P
= + =

( 4.43 )

in which Q
t
is the flow through the tunnel, L is the ength of the tunnel, Q
tur
is
thedischarge through the turbine,A
s
, area of the surge tank A
t
and A
t
are area of
cross section of tunnel and surge tank respectively, Q
o
o
is
c= coefficient of friction loss
efficiency of the turbine
=unit weight of water.
P=power out put of the turbine after sudden change and is assumed
to remain constant.Differentiating equations (4.38) and (4.39) and equating and after
rearranging the equations can be written as

( ) ( )
2
t s
2
s
t
2
s t
2
t
s
2
2
z H A LA
g cC
z
LA
gA
) z H ( A
C
z H L A
gcC 2
dt
dz
dt
dz
L A
gcA
dt
z d
+
= +

+
+ |
.
|

\
|
+
(4.44 )
Equation ( 4.44 ) represents an oscillation. The axis about which the oscillation
occurs may be found by substituting steady conditions, i.e. z= zo= constant and
dz
dt
= 0 and
d z
dt
2
2
=0. The equation ( 4.43 ) reduces to

4
A
t
2
z
o
(H+z
o
)
2
+ c (Q
o
H
o
)
2
=0 ( 4.45 )

C=Q
o
H
o
=At (H+z
o
)
z
c
o

( 4.46 )

or z
o
=
2
t
o
A
Q
c
|
|
.
|

\
|

is the limit z will approach and which applies to the steady
state conditions giving constant output of power P
As shown in the fig the position of the axis of oscillation may be determined
graphically by intersection of the curves representing the
simultaneously equations -
cQ
2
=z(parabola for dynamic equation) and QoHo=constant (hyperbola ,for
governor equation ).
Under steady condition both must be satisfied ,and this will lead to two solutions I
and II. Also from the figure there is curve C
max
corresponding to maximum
possible power output. from the system. which is tangent to the curve of friction
loss,(dynamic equation) The two axes I and II will coincide to form a single axis
passing through the tangent point. The co-ordinates of the tangent points are
obtained by differentiating equation ( 4.46),with respect to z, and equating to zero
we get z=
H
3

From above relation the it may be concluded that the maximum power output
of the system will be obtained when the friction loss between reservoir and turbine
amounts to z
o
= z=H/3, although in practice it will be found uneconomical to run a
scheme with such large friction loss.
For further analysis of equation [4.44] it will be convenient to move the horizontal
axis by zo=-cQ
o
2

such that s=z-z
o

d s
dt
a
ds
dt
bs
2
2
2 0 + + = ( 4.47 )
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equation [4.47] is linear differential equation whose solution depends on the roots of
the second degree equation., the roots are = a a b
2

Table -Roots of the equation

for b>0 and a
2
<b [a periodic oscillation]
a>0
a=0
a<0
a damped oscillation
a pure sinusoidal
oscillation
a forced oscillation.

Table Aperiodic oscillation

fora
2
>
b [aperiodic oscillation]
a> b
a= b
a damped oscillation
a pure sinusoidal
oscillation

If the oscillation is to be damped ,b>0 and a0.
The condition in equation (4.44)] means that

H z
H z
o
+
+
3
> 0 and H+z
o
> 0
-z
o
= cQ
o
2

1
2
(H+z
o
) ( 4.48 )
This limitation of the friction losses means that certain minimum power output must
not be exceeded .
Similarly the condition a>0 leads to
6

or A
V
g
cQ H cQ
th
o
o o

2
2 2
2

LA
t
( )
( 4.49 )
This is Thoma's condition for stability of surge tanks with oscillations of small
amplitudes. and Thomas's least areas of cross section of a surge tank.
In the recent past the equations are normalised and solved by phase plane method.
The characteristic of these roots lead to the determination of singularity as node ,
saddle , vortex and focus [C1]
In the above equation following assumption are made.:
Turbine governor maintains constant power output.
The surge tank oscillations are small
Turbine efficiency is constant.
Head losses in penstock are neglected.
transient flow conditions.
The power station is isolated one

Stability of surge tank for large amplitude of oscillation:
In case of large amplitudes the function (t) and (t) of equation [4.47] are
complicated functions of time t. The complex equation are simplified by taking
mean values of (t) and (t) and rewriting equation as below

d z
dt
a
dz
dt
bz
2
2
2 0 + + = ( 4.50 )
On integrating the above equation between limits 0 to t,rearranging the terms ,
(J1 )obtained the expression for oscillations from which the stability is obtained.

|
|
.
|

\
|
+
+ = =

o Th
s
z H
z
482 . 0 1
A
A
n ( 4.51 )
7

in

which z*=V
LA
gA
o
t
s
is amplitude of oscillation due to sudden rejection
of load ,neglecting friction and the period is= 2
L
g
A
A
s
t

Defining
( )
2
2
o
2 2
o
Q c
z
= and ,
H
cQ

= ( 4.52 )

=
|
|
.
|

\
|

+ = =

1
2
1
482 . 0 1
A
A
n
Th
s
( 4.53 )

or

|
|
.
|

\
|

= = n = n for , 0 =
2
1
482 . 0 1
1 A
A
n
*
*
*
*
Th
s

( 4.54 )
To ensure stability =
*
.
The figure 2. indicate the curves vs , and also compared with the value of
calculated directly by graphical method by Frank and also with the Thoma 's
expressions.For <
*
,the surge collapses , i.e., water level in the tank reaches the
axis of oscillation II and surge tank emptied without the possibility of water level
rising again in the same oscillation.

4.6.4 STABILITY OF ORIFICE SURGE TANK:
Govening Equations for orifice surge tank are aleready written viz. eqn 4.1 and 4.2

Turbine boundary condition:

Q
o
( H
o
- h
f
) = ( Q
o
- Q
s
) ( H
o
- z - c Q Q
orf s s
) ( 4.57)
The above equations can be modified and can be rewritten as

8

dz
dt
M Q z
s
= ( , ) ( 4.58)

dQ
dt
N Q z
s
s
= ( , ) ( 4.59 )
Linearizing its governing equations about a given equilibrium state is a most
fundamental and generally useful technique. The proceedure facilitates judging the
stability without actually solving the equations. To that end the equilibrium of the
system should be first identified. This is done by letting M Q z
s
( , ) =0 and
N Q z
s
( , )=0.
From the above step three solutions are found ,in which

Q
s
=0, i.e., c
orf
Q
s
Q
s
=0 ( 4.60 )

Consequently the prescence of orifice has no effect on singularities and throttled
chambers have the same sigular points as unthrottled ones. The locations of singular
points on ( Q, z ) plane are shown in table.
Table Location of singular points

( )
1 1
y , x
( , ) Q z
o o

. ( )
2 2
y , x
. ( ) | |
o f
2
1 o o 1
M h 1 b z , Q b +
. ( )
3 3
y , x
( ) | |
o f
2
2 o o 2
M h 1 b z , Q b +

in which M
o
=1; b
1
= ( ) | | 1 3 4 5 . 0 , b
2
= ( ) | | 1 3 4 5 . 0 + and = H h
f

The third singularity is virtual one and will not be discussed. The first one is steady
state hydraulic grade line with head loss in the tunnel equal to h
f,
and surge
oscillations in actual situations take plcace about it. The stability of

equations (4.58)
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and (4.59) depend whether this point is stable or not.For this to be asymptotically
stable requires
3 h
f
< H ( 4.64 )
As > A
Th ( 4.65 )

in which A
Th
=
L
gA cH
t o
2

The second sigular point lies below the first , where the drainage of surge chamber is
likely to occur. This can be formulated as
3 h
f
> H ( 4.66 )

4 2 4
1
2 2 2
b h M A Hh
f
o
t
f
+ < 0 ( 4.67 )
The condition ( 4.66 ) implies taht the second singularity can only be stable if the
head loss exceeds 1/3 of gross head. It would be highly uneconomical if power plant
is designed withsuch an high head loss in tunnel. The stability of this singularity,
there fore has little practical importance.