Coupled Dynamic Analysis of Flow in the Inlet Section of a Wave Rotor Constant Volume Combustor

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Mechanical Engineering
Purdue University
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A wave rotor constant volume combustor (WRCVC) was designed and built as a collaborative work of Rolls Royce LibertyWorks, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), and Purdue University, and ran experimental tests at Purdue's Zucrow Laboratories in 2009. Instrumentation of the WRCVC rig inlet flow included temperature and pressure transducers upstream of the venturi and at the fuel delivery plane. Other instrumentation included exhaust pressures and temperatures. In addition, ion sensors, dynamic pressure sensors, and accelerometers were used to instrument the rotating hardware. The rig hardware included inlet guide vanes directly in front of the rotating hardware, which together with concern for damage potential, prevented use of any pressure transducers at the entrance to the rotor. For this reason, a complete understanding of the conditions at the WRCVC inlet is unavailable, requiring simulations of the WRCVC to estimate the inlet pressure at a specific operating condition based on airflow. The operation of a WRCVC rig test is a sequence of events over a short time span. These events include introduction of the main air flow followed by time-sequenced delivery of fuel, lighting of the ignition source, and the combustion sequence. The fast changing conditions in the rig inlet hardware make necessary a time-dependent computation of the rig inlet section in order to simulate the overall rig operation. The chosen method for computing inlet section temperature and pressure was a time-dependent lumped volume model of the inlet section hardware, using a finite difference modified Euler predictor-corrector method for computing the continuity and energy equations. This is coupled with perfect gas prediction of venturi air and fuel flow rates, pressure drag losses at the fuel nozzles, pressure losses by mass addition of the fuel or nitrogen purge, friction losses at the inlet guide vanes, and a correlation of the non-dimensional flow characteristics of the WRCVC. The flow characteristics of the WRCVC are computed by varying the non-dimensional inlet stagnation pressure and the WRCVC's operational conditions, assuming constant rotational speed and inlet stagnation temperature. This thesis documents the creation of a computer simulation of the entire WRCVC rig, to understand the pressure losses in the inlet system and the dynamic coupling of the inlet section and the WRCVC, so that an accurate prediction of the WRCVC rotor inlet conditions can be computed. This includes the computational development of the WRCVC upstream rig dynamic model, the background behind supporting computations, and results for one test sequence. The computations provide a clear explanation of why the pressures at the rotor inlet differ so much from the upstream measured values. The pressure losses correlate very well with the computer predictions and the dynamic response tracks well with the estimation of measured airflow. A simple Fortran language computer program listing is included, which students can use to simulate charging or discharging of a container.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
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