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IAHR 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems OCTOBER 27-31, FOZ DO IGUASSU RESERVED TO IAHR

EXPERIENCE WITH ROTOR-STATOR INTERACTIONS IN HIGH HEAD FRANCIS RUNNER
ANDRÉ COUTU
Andritz VATECH-HYDRO Ltd , 6100 Trans Canada highway, Pointe-Claire QC, H9R 1B9, Canada

MICHEL D. ROY
Hydro-Québec, 845 Ste-Catherine est, Montreal, QC, H2l 4P5 Canada

CHRISTINE MONETTE
Andritz VATECH-HYDRO Ltd , 6100 Trans Canada highway, Pointe-Claire QC, H9R 1B9, Canada

BERND NENNEMANN
Andritz VATECH-HYDRO Ltd , 6100 Trans Canada highway, Pointe-Claire QC, H9R 1B9, Canada

ABSTRACT Built for Hydro-Québec, unit 1 of Ste-Marguerite 3 (SM-3) was commissioned in April 2003. After few days of generation at peak efficiency, noticeable noise was heard from the unit. The machine was stopped for inspection after 200 hours and major cracks at outflow edge junctions to crown and band were discovered on many blades. A Root Cause Analysis (RCA) process was launched following this discovery. The main reasons for the SM-3 failure were identified to be high dynamic stress due to the interaction of guide vanes and runner blades, acting at a frequency very close to the natural frequency of the runner. Although qualitatively known at that time, the quantitative importance of runner blade-guide vane interactions, also called Rotor-Stator Interactions (RSI), in the dynamic behaviour of the turbine has only been demonstrated recently. All runners in operation are excited by RSI. Although this excitation is most of the time very small and does not damage the runner, in the case of SM-3, the phenomenon was so strong, that it made the runner crack at an accelerated pace. The paper will describe the RSI phenomenon that took place in the SM-3 runner. A temporary solution has been rapidly developed for SM-3 in order to put the unit back in service and minimize the loss of production. At the same time, using the new design rules defined during the RCA, a new runner was developed and tested. The hydraulic performances obtained exceeded the ones from the first runner while ensuring high level of protection against RSI. Strain gage measurements performed on the newly installed replacement runner confirmed the effectiveness of the approach taken to design the new runner. Hydro-Québec’s initial specifications for SM-3 have been put together using their experience with the 318m head Churchill Falls runners, which have been running trouble-free for decades. Following SM-3 experience, these specifications have been updated to avoid such events for the replacement runners and future projects. KEY WORD: Francis turbine, fluid-structure interaction; rotor-stator interactions; flowinduced vibration,

Except for this special requirement. together with a detailed history of the events up to March 2004. Unit #1 was put into commercial operation in April 2003. have been presented previously [1]. As predicted by finite element analyses (FEA). everything indicated trouble free commissioning and commercial operation. The hydraulic design was challenging due to the wide operating range: the peak efficiency was located at approximately 67% of rated power to maximize the weighted average efficiency. Based on the latest developments. have been implemented at SM-3 to solve the issue while minimizing down time of the units. ROOT CAUSE The first cracks were repaired and strain gages were installed on few blades to measure stresses at the outflow edge junction with crown and band. although very important.INTRODUCTION The Sainte-Marguerite 3 (SM-3) project. 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 2 . The phenomenon. located in the province of Quebec. Using the state-of-the-art design tools available at the time. The measured stress was so high that the dynamic force required to produce it was on the order of magnitude of the one producing the power. After less than two weeks of operation. hydraulic and mechanical designs were straightforward. temporary and permanent. the measured static stress was very low. The team included technical experts from across GE Energy and GE’s Global Research Center. 600 km north-east of Quebec city. however. Figure 1 Crack at outflow to crown junction Figure 2 Crack at outflow to band junction In agreement with Hydro-Quebec. The various actions taken in this RCA process. It will also show how solutions. was the presence of unexpected very high dynamic stress on the blades. Inspection showed cracks on several blades at outflow / crown and band junctions varying from few to approximately 35 centimeters as shown in Figures 1 and 2. Another characteristic of the signal was the almost perfect sine wave at each strain gage (see Figure 3). a severe runner blade-cracking situation was discovered. houses two Francis units which have a rated output of 447 MW under a net head of 330 m at a rotational speed of 257. was undetectable from outside the runner. The frequency of this signal matched the guide vane passing frequency and the phase shift from one blade to the other matched guide vane passing phase: The runner was failing under High Cycle Fatigue (HCF) coming from RSI induced dynamic stress.1 RPM. What the strain gage test indicated. the present paper will emphasize on the causes of the failure. a detailed RCA was launched to help identify the source of the problem and to find a solution. The contract for the two units was awarded to GE Hydro in 1996.

e. this results in a varying pressure difference between those channels. both the static pressure and the velocity (velocity magnitude and flow angle) vary circumferentially.Figure 3 SM-3 . it is subject to a varying static inflow pressure. Figure 4 Rotor-Stator Interactions 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 3 . i. the magnitude of the velocity passing over the blade varies. This results in three effects on the runner: • As each runner channel passes through the flow field. This in itself creates an unsteady load on the blade. If a phase difference between adjacent channels is present. it is subject to a varying incidence angle. an unsteady load on the blade. • As each blade passes through the flow field. • As each blade passes through the flow field. This also creates an unsteady load on the blade.Strain gage measurements at a blade outflow edge junctions with crown and band Rotor Stator Interaction (RSI) The hydraulic effect leading to RSI is primarily a potential flow interaction between the non-uniform flow distribution at the outlet of the guide vanes and the rotating runner blades passing through this flow. Since the flow field in the radial space between the guide vanes and runner is non-uniform circumferentially.

The natural frequency measurements. On SM3 runner. Such ratio. For SM-3. it so happens that the peak-to-peak dynamic torque calculated was close to the static torque. full size natural frequency measurements have been performed on the shaft-runner assembly (Figure 7). confirmed later by the computerized calculations. indicate a ratio ω/ωn=0. If resonance takes place between one of the runner natural frequencies and the RSI frequency. The real importance of the damping and natural frequency on the response of the runner to RSI have been studied lately when the technology of forced response calculation in water became available [5]. with 20 guide vanes and 15 runner blades. Calculations of the first ND=5 mode in water are presented in Figures 5 and 6. however. only the modes of one specific nodal diameter can get excited due to RSI [3]. the Nodal Diameter (ND) of interest is ND=5. It confirmed what was only suspected at the time of the SM-3 RCA. depending on the damping value. In order to evaluate natural frequencies in water.Figure 4 illustrates these contributing factors.96 for the first ND=5 mode. close to one. These computer tools being unavailable at the time of the SM-3 RCA process. may lead to a substantial increase of the excitation. it was common practice to multiply natural frequencies calculated in air by an empirical factor to take into account the added mass effect of water. Natural Frequency Although suspected during SM-3 RCA. the dynamic effects can be amplified to dangerous levels. the proximity of the guide vane passing frequency ω with the natural frequency of the runner ωn was later found to be a very important parameter contributing to the response of the structure to RSI [3]. Detailed explanations on RSI calculations using unsteady CFD have been presented previously [2]. A useful way of representing the effect of unsteadiness on the blades of a runner is the unsteady or dynamic blade torque. This is the torque an individual blade contributes to the shaft torque as a function of time. as shown in Figure 8 for a single degree of freedom system. Verifications performed later on other runners indicate that the SM-3 dynamic torque was many times higher than any of the reference projects available. Based on the number of guide vanes and runner blades in a turbine. Modal analysis of runners in air has been performed for many years. it is possible to accurately predict Francis runner natural frequencies and mode shapes in water using computerized modal acoustic fluid-structure analysis [4]. It becomes therefore essential to accurately predict Francis runner natural frequencies in water. Today. Figure 5 ND=5 runner displacement mode shape 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems Figure 6 ND=5 water pressure mode shape 4 .

25 0. In October 2003.5 3 excitation frequency / natural frequency Figure 7 Dip test of the SM-3 runner Figure 8 Amplification factor due to resonance proximity SOLUTION Temporary Solution Late summer 2003.76. Comparison of strain gage measurements Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) for the original runner and the stiffened up one are presented in Figure 10. the conclusion of the RCA was that the runner was cracking due to high cycle fatigue coming from RSI induced dynamic stress with some natural frequency amplification.5 0 0 0. This improvement.05 0.15 0. It was measured that the ratio of the RSI frequency to the natural frequency was now ω/ωn=0.5 1 1. therefore moving away from resonance. although very important.Single degree of freedom system amplification factor for various damping values 0 0. In the mean time.5 2 1.375 0. a solution had to be found and quickly implemented to minimize down time and water spilling. The modification was implemented at site and the improvement was clear: The strain amplitude decreased by at least half. A drastic decision was then taken: Struts will be added between the blades to bring down the dynamic stress to a safe level while a new runner would be designed and manufactured.5 1 3. the reinforced runner (Figure 9) was put in service. the customer was able to reliably generate power and minimize water spilling. was unfortunately not enough to bring down the stress to a harmless level. The temporary solution proved to be reliable: The runner was replaced by the new one only in October 2006. A modification was designed for the runner inflow based on CFD results to decrease the RSI pressure fluctuations.5 1 0. matching the dynamic pressure decrease predicted by the dynamic flow analysis.5 2 2.1 0. The stiffening up due to these struts had two effects: they decreased the dynamic stress. The problem being defined.5 amplification factor 3 2. 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 5 . but they also increased the natural frequency of the runner. after three years of operation.

Figure 9 Struts added to the runner Figure 10 Strain gage 1. would follow these new specifications which cover the whole process of supplying a runner from design stage through all the manufacturing activities and testing at site. The most important additions are as follows: At the design stage the specifications call for: • A static analysis by Finite Element (FE) demonstrating a maximum Von Mises stress of 200 MPa for normal operation and 360 MPa at runaway speed. taking into account the residual stresses and demonstrating a fatigue life of at least 70 years using a specified number of starts and stops. • The mesh quality of the FE model has to be demonstrated according clearly defined rules. these general specifications have been updated to avoid failures in the future. runaways and production levels. • An harmonic analysis showing no risk of amplification of the dynamic loads. All new runners. One of them specifies that doubling the number of elements should not induce more than a 5% increase of the maximum calculated stress. including replacement ones to be supplied for SM-3. The initial specifications for the runners where therefore limited to general requirements on fabrication made out of martensitic stainless steel (ASTM A-743 Grade CA6NM). strain amplitude FFTs of original and reinforced runner Hydro-Québec New Requirements Hydro-Québec’s specifications for SM-3 have been put together using their experience with the 318m head Churchill Falls runners. • A fatigue analysis. Following SM-3 runner issues. which have been running trouble-free for decades. 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 6 . Another one prescribes a maximum on the calculated error on the deformation energy.

is required to qualify the pouring process. • The welding material have to be homogenous to the castings. shall not exceed 325 Brinell. • Ultrasonic Tests (UT) on critical areas are required according to ASTM A609 level 1 for a dept of 0. Preheat has to be applied on the whole crown or band and on the portion of the blade to be welded. The acceptance levels are strictly defined. partial X-ray are required with the same acceptance criteria used for the blade.035 % on the carbon content is imposed to improve the weldability. Critical areas have to be X-rayed according to article 12. This implies that the manufacturer should perform all NDT required before the first heat treatment so no major defect are discovered after the first heat treatment and subsequent machining. Only minor repairs on non-critical area can be done with austenitic welding without heat treatment. • The welding has to be done with a monitored preheat of 100 °C minimum and 150 °C maximum. D being the outlet diameter of the runner. • On all runner parts. New casting requirements were also implemented: • A limit of 0. the welds have to be verified by MT or penetrant (PT) according to ASTM E125 level 1 or CCH-PT 70-3 class 3. E186 or E 280. Critical areas have to be verified by UT according to ASME pressure vessel code division 1 appendix 12. • The welding process has to be tightly monitored. • On the crown and band.005D and level 2 from 0. • After the heat treatment.4 of CSA-W59. The temperature rise should be such that the difference of temperature between the thickest and the thinnest part is never more than 50 ºC. 100 % Magnetic Particles (MT) according to ASTM E125 level 2 are required.5. The hardness in the heat-affected zone shall not exceed 350 Brinell. major repairs have to be done with martensitic welding followed by a heat treatment. The temperatures during the process have to be monitored. • The runner has to be post weld heat treated according to specific requirements. 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 7 . Preheat should not be interrupted during the whole welding process. • Finally. • On the first casted blade. • At this stage. • 100% of the blades surfaces and area of crown and band to be welded have to be verified by MT according to ASTM E125 level 1. The nominal heat treatment temperature (± 600 º C) should be maintained for a minimum of six hours. • The cooling must be controlled down to 80 ºC in furnace. depending of the thickness. the first runner delivered at site has to be equipped with strain gages to verify that the design criteria are met. • The hardness of repair welds. 100% X-ray examination according to ASTM E446. • 100% of the welds have to be verified by UT according to ASME Pressure Vessel Code Division 1 Appendix 12. • Welders have to be qualified according to ASME.01D.• The level of high frequency dynamic loads has to be determined by a method accepted by Hydro-Québec and shall not exceed 60 MPa peak to peak to avoid high cycle fatigue failure. after heat treatment.005D to 0. • The resilience of attached casting samples has to be at least 50 Joules at 0 ºC. The new requirements also cover runner fabrication: • All parts have to be fully machined.

and the knowledge obtained from the first runner. great care was also given to its mechanical design. Hydro-Québec considers however that these drawbacks are relatively minor compared to production losses due to failure of runners. Of course these requirements have a cost and an impact on fabrication cycle. and would probably have been chosen instead of the original one. the new runner had to undergo the same approval process the original went through. on a 200 MW turbine. Permanent Solution: The New Runner In addition to Hydro-Québec’s new requirements. which now included RSI unsteady calculations. Strain gage measurements indicate that the dynamic stress level was not even a concern as shown in Figure 12. The new runner offered even better performance than the original one. had it been available at the bid time. without compromising on performance. Special attention was also given to the natural frequency of the runner in water to avoid possible resonance. as shown in Figure 11. For example. a new one was designed. The dynamic torque was decreased by a factor of more than three. 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 8 . different manufacturers have supplied sixteen new runners to Hydro-Québec and they mechanically all perform according to expectations. Using the latest design tools. Both runners have now been replaced and the units are fully operational.Since the release of these new specifications. Figure 11 Comparison of the two SM3 runners In parallel to the hydraulic characteristics of the runner. The dynamic behavior of the runner was closely looked at to minimize the dynamic stress at critical locations. All customer’s new requirements were met and the new runner was commissioned in October 2006. the payback of the extra costs imposed by the new requirements represents only few days of production.

8 µε Figure 12 Strain gage 1. Figure 13 presents results of dynamic stress at outflow edge to crown junction calculated using the newly available forced response calculations in water. strain amplitude FFTs of original and new runner FORCED RESPONSE CALCULATION Modern high head and high performance Francis runners are subject to complex dynamic forces that can lead to high cycle fatigue and eventual cracking and failure of the turbine. Since then. Figure 13 Von Mises dynamic stresses due to RSI 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems 9 . which are now reality [5]. SM-3 experience has revealed the effects of strong fluid-structure interaction on the natural frequencies. a major research effort has been underway to understand the fundamental characteristics of these machines in real operating conditions and to develop advanced physics based computational methods that can predict these characteristics [3]. As one can see. Validation with field test data is part of this effort and the strain gage measurements of SM-3 have been very useful to calibrate the forced response calculations. non-linear damping and the forced response. Figure 14 presents the comparison between the strain gage dynamic measurements performed on the original runner and the forced response calculated values. the match is very good.

Velagandula O. Montréal. Villach. ANDRITZ VATECH HYDRO is in position to assess RSI dynamic phenomena at the design stage.. Farhat M. Monette C. Villach. 2005 10 24th Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems . Coulson S..... August 15-18 2004. to have unfavorable values on the SM-3 design. October 17th. TX. Demers A. Austria. Waterpower XIV. therefore avoiding any new occurrence of similar situation. Francis Runner Dynamic Stress Calculations. Velagandula O.C. It was later discovered that RSI actually exists on all type of Francis turbines. Velagandula O. Nennemann B. with its 330m head. Austria Coutu A. At this point. There was neither indication nor any design tools that could have been used at the design stage to predict the situation observed at SM-3.. Francis Runner Natural Frequency and Mode Shape Predictions.. Monette C. Figure 14 Comparison between measured dynamic strains and forced response calculationsVon Mises dynamic stresses due to RSI BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] Coutu A. October 17-20 2005. Hydro 2005.. Nennemann B. July 19th 2005. Granada. October 15-17 2007 Coutu A. Francis Runner Forced Response Technology. Spain. Coutu A.. Hydro 2005. CFD prediction of unsteady wicket gate-runner interaction in Francis turbines : A new standard hydraulic design procedure. USA Coutu A. by coincidence.... with greater importance on the higher head range [6]. Austin... Proulx D. Vu T. QC. Waterpower XV. Chattanooga TN. Hydrovision 2004... Velagandula O. Although SM-3. machines with much higher head never experienced such high failure rate.. Badding B.. Dynamic Behaviour of High Head Francis Turbines.. SM-3 was special: All factors that were later discovered to impact the dynamic behavior of a turbine happened. More developments are undergoing to further refine the analysis.CONCLUSION SM-3 original turbine design was performed with the state-of-the-art tools that were available at that time. falls on the low end of this category. Aunemo H. Dynamic Assessment of Hydraulic Turbines – High Head Francis.. Hydro 2007. July 23-26 2007.