Hydraulic design of Francis turbine exposed to sediment erosion
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High concentrations of sediments is a serious problem for hydropower stations in the Himalayas and the Andes Mountains. For run-of-river power plants sediment causes heavy erosion even with settling basins. This leads to reduced operating hours and high maintenance cost. In addition, the original design experienced problem with heavy cavitation.The objective of this master thesis is to carry out new hydraulic design of the runner and guide vanes of the existing Francis turbines in La Higuera Power Plant with reduced velocity components. To achieve this the cause of the heavy cavitation, which made the turbine fail, has to be established.Results from numerical simulations indicates a low pressure zone causing heavy leading edge cavitation is the reason for the turbine failure. The off-design operation has made the cavitation even worse.To carry out a new design, the in-house design software Khoj was used. Some new parameters, like blade leaning, were included in the program. Blade leaning is an important tool for pressure balancing the runner blade. Further, a parameter study was carried out to investigate the effect of blade leaning, blade angle distribution and blade length. The numerical simulation indicates proper pressure balancing could have avoided the cavitation problems and a new design should have an X-blade shape. Because the power plant is already built, the number of variables is limited. The rotational speed, inlet and outlet diameter remained constant. This made it impossible to significantly reduce the relative velocities. Therefore, coating of all wet surfaces is proposed to reduce the effect of erosion.The main objective for this thesis has been to identify the cause of the turbine failure and develop a new design to fit in the existing power plant. Complete 3D-drawings of the design, including runner and guide vanes, has not been made due to lack of time.