Investigation of the Flow through the Runner of a Cross-Flow Turbine
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The cross-flow turbine is unique due to the generation of power during two stages. The water flows through the rectangular cross-section nozzle and enters the runner, where the first stage power is generated. The water then flows diametrically through the center of the runner, before it hits the blades on the way out, generating the second stage power. This type of turbine is often used in small hydropower plants located in less-developed countries. The turbine has a simple design, which is economical and easy to manufacture. A cross-flow turbine manufactured by Remote HydroLight in Afghanistan was installed in The Waterpower Laboratory at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology in September 2008. During the fall of 2008, efficiency measurements were performed on the turbine. A maximum efficiency of 78.6% was obtained at 5 meter head. However, although the efficiency is high for a turbine with such a simple design, there is a desire to improve it for better utilization of the resources. An open question is if the flow through the runner behaves like the manufacturers of this turbine type claim. It is therefore of interest to investigate the flow pattern through the runner and the distribution of torque transferred during the two stages. This is the objective of this thesis. Two experiments are performed in this thesis. The objective of the first experiment was to visualize the flow through the runner with use of a high-speed camera. This required an extensive remodeling of the turbine in order to obtain a clear view of the flow. However, the high--speed camera had to be replaced by a single-lens reflex camera and stroboscopes, due to low quality pictures. The second experiment measured the torque transfer to the runner by the use of strain gages. The strain gages could not be calibrated within the time frame of this thesis, but a relative measure of the distribution of torque was obtained. During both experiments the efficiency was measured, but the main objective was to determine the flow pattern and torque transfer through the runner. The results show that the turbine works well for large nozzle openings. The water enters the runner close to the nozzle outlet, leading to a cross flow entering the inside of the runner at a short distance from the nozzle. This gives good conditions for the flow, as the direction of the absolute velocity when entering the second stage corresponds well with the blade inlet angle. At best efficiency point the second stage contributes to 53.7% of the total amount of torque transferred. With decreasing nozzle opening, the cross flow enters the inside of the runner further away from the nozzle. This give a direction of the cross flow which corresponds poorly with the inlet angle of the blades at the second stage, which increases the incidence losses and gives a lower efficiency.