Optimization and lifetime analysis of transient operation of hydraulic machines and active flow control using machine learning

NAISS 2024/1-34


NAISS Large Compute

Principal Investigator:

Håkan Nilsson


Chalmers tekniska högskola

Start Date:


End Date:


Primary Classification:

20306: Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics



The project will provide computational resources for the following research areas: 1. Transients in hydraulic machines, such as shutdown and startup. 2. Lifetime and structural analysis of hydraulic turbines 3. Machine learning algorithms for active flow control in hydraulic machines. 4. Optimization of novel contra-rotating pump-turbines in transient operation. 5. Turbulence: Resolved simulations of high-Re flows in complex geometries (URANS, DES, LES). 6. Cavitation: A two-phase flow phenomenon requiring extreme mesh resolution, short time steps. 7. Fluid-structure interaction: Coupling between CFD and structural analysis or rotor dynamics. The first four items in the above list are the main applications that will be investigated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), while the remaining items are general methods and modeling techniques that will be applied, evaluated, and developed. In all four applications, it is necessary to perform highly resolved CFD simulations of the flow, using hybrid/DES/LES turbulence modelling techniques. Such simulations are resource-demanding already for simple applications. At the high Reynolds numbers and in the complex geometries of the present applications, it is much more demanding. We particularly need to study long real-time events and include both mesh rotation as well as mesh deformation due to changes in operating conditions. Cavitation is a two-phase flow phenomenon that occurs under the transient operation of hydraulic machines, which involves phase change as the local pressure passes the vaporization pressure. It requires highly resolved simulations both in time and space. Fluid-structure interaction (FSI) must be used to capture the interaction between the flow and the motion of the structures, which is necessary for lifetime analysis. It may be accomplished by coupling the CFD simulations to either a structural analysis or rotor-dynamics software. We have during many years been part of the development and validation of the methods and models needed to do these kinds of simulations using the OpenFOAM open-source software, and all of the functionality to successfully do the studies are now in place. I am reducing our request for computational time compared to previous project. Because one of my PhD students is finishing this year and another one is ramping up her usage.