Turbomachinery Research Group
Turbomachinery Research at QUB
The QUB Turbomachinery Research Group is led by Professor Stephen Spence, along with two other associated academic staff, two research assistants and seven PhD students.
Current research topics of interest within the group include:
Mixed flow turbines
Vaned and vaneless diffusers
1D modelling of compressors and turbines.
Research into aerodynamic advancements combine the use of computational methods including CFD, FEA and optimisation studies. Experimental testing is also conducted by the research group using one of the in house QUB test rigs.
Collaborators with QUB
QUB has an extensive history of successful collaborations with industry including IHI, ABB Turbo Systems, GE, Cummins and others. The research group recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of collaborating with IHI Charging Systems International GmbH. The group also has recent collaborations with the Northwestern Polytechnical University and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China.
Experimental Testing at QUB
Experimental testing methods are utilised as part of the research conducted at QUB. Currently the turbomachinery department has four different test rigs.
Cold flow turbine test rig
Hydraulic turbine dynamometer
Engine dyno test cell
Turbocharger compressor test rig
Cold flow turbine test rig
The cold flow test rig has a rotor inlet temperature range of 100-200°C allowing for detailed instrumentation to be used.
There is a reduced level of error due to heat transfer
Aluminium prototypes can be used in the cold flow test rig due to the reduced rotor inlet temperature.
The unique design of the QUB cold flow rig allows a single blade passage CFD model to accurately represent the cold flow rig.
The group has developed extensive capabilities in turbine and compressor modelling, ranging from in-house 1D codes from preliminary design to advanced aerodynamic and structural modelling to get detailed insights into flow phenomena and loss generation. Commercial and in-house optimisation methods are used to maximise the potential of 3D blade designs.
Prototypes for the experimental testing can be manufactured in the QUB engineering workshop. The workshop has a wide range of fabrication facilities including 5-axis CNC mills, 3-axis CNC mills, CNC mill-turn centre, CNC lathes, a wire cutter, a water jet cutter and CMM & laser scanning inspection. A wide range of materials can be used in the manufacturing process including aluminium alloys for direct use in the cold flow test rig and hard max for investment casting of rotors. These in-house machining capabilities are particularly useful for incorporating detailed instrumentation into complex geometry components for subsequent performance testing, and the group has extensive experience in this area.
QUB constantly strives to further the state of the art for turbomachinery. A vast number of publications have been produced by the turbomachinery department with multiple publications accepted into the prestigious ASME Journal of Turbomachinery.
Harris, P., Wintterer, M., Jasper, D., Linke, B., Brecher, C. and Spence, S., 2018, Design and Development of a High Efficiency Turbo-Spindle for Small-Part Machining, International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing-Green Technology
Gibson, L., Spence, S., Kim, S., Schwitzke, M. and Starke, A., 2018, A numerical investigation of a turbocharger compressor back-disk cavity under vastly different operating conditions, NLETT Turbocharging Seminar, Shanghai, 16-17 Oct 2018
Li, X., Spence, S. and Wu, Y., 2018, The interaction between inlet guide vanes and the impeller recirculating flow in a centrifugal compressor and the resulting impact on flow range, Paper No. GT2018-75097, Proceedings of ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition, Oslo, Norway, 11-15 June 2018 (Nominated for Best Paper)
Stuart C, Spence S, Filsinger D, Starke A, Kim S. Characterising the influence of impeller exit recirculation on centrifugal compressor work input. Journal of Turbomachinery . 2018 Jan;140(1). 011005.
Galloway L, Spence S, Kim S, Rusch D, Vogel K, Hunziker R. An investigation of the stability enhancement of a centrifugal compressor stage using a porous throat diffuser. Journal of Turbomachinery . 2018 Jan;140(1):1-12. 011008.
Stuart C, Spence S, Kim S, Filsinger D, Starke A. A Three-Zone Modelling Approach for Centrifugal Compressor Slip Factor Prediction. In ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition. Vol. 2B. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 2018. V02BT44A005.