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Ser.B, 2007,19(3):356-364

NUMERICAL PREDICTION OF DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE OF PELTON


TURBINE*
XIAO Ye-xiang, HAN Feng-qin, ZHOU Jing-lin, KUBOTA Takashi
College of Electric Power, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China,
E-mail: xiaoyx@scut.edu.cn
(Received November 3, 2006; Revised January 23, 2007)
ABSTRACT Different from the reaction turbines, the
hydraulic performance of Pelton turbine is dynamic due to the
unsteady flow in the rotating buckets in time and space. The
dynamic energy efficiency of bucket EB and power efficiency
of bucket PB within a short period can be predicted from the
dynamic flow pattern of the free-surface sheet flow in the
rotating bucket, whereas the dynamic discharge efficiency of
bucket QB is defined as the resident discharge in the bucket at
the respective moment. Under the operation of higher unit
speed nDH than the optimum one, the power efficiency of
bucket is deteriorated by the jet interference with the rear
surface of bucket Prear at the first stage of the dynamic
performance, as well as the loss power due to the spilt flow
from the cutout of bucket at the later stage of performance.
Based on the dynamic performance prediction presented, the
future possibility of the quantitative investigation for the
negative scale effect of Pelton turbines was discussed.
KEY WORDS: dynamic energy efficiency, dynamic discharge
efficiency, dynamic power efficiency, rotating bucket, Pelton
turbine

1. INTRODUCTION
In a Pelton turbine, the rotating buckets
consecutively penetrate a water jet to have the
inflow under the atmospheric environment as
shown in Fig.1. In the figure, the three buckets
receive the different amount of water jet,
respectively[1]. The above unsteadiness in time and
space, even under the constant rotating speed, is the
main reason why the numerical prediction of its
performance is difficult compared with the reaction

turbines[2-6].
The
time-averaged
steady
performance prediction has little contribution to the
study of the negative scale effect of the Pelton
turbines[7].

Fig.1 Interaction of a jet to buckets

By applying the numerical approach of


animated-cartoon frames[1,8] to discretize the
analogous unsteady flow, it is possible to adopt the
usual angular momentum equation for the inlet and
outlet of the free-surface sheet flow in a bucket
under the respective frame[9,10]. Based on the
consecutive frame of flow analysis, the dynamic
performance of the specific hydraulic energy, the
relative discharge and the hydraulic power of
rotating bucket can be determined numerically[11].
The aim of this article is to present the numerical
procedure for acquiring the dynamic characteristics

* Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 50379015).
BiographyXIAO Ye-xiang(1978-), Male, Ph. D. Student, Lecturer

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to investigate the negative scale effect of the Pelton


turbines.

2. NUMERICAL APPROACH TO PREDICT


DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE
2.1 Numerical procedure of dynamic flow analysis
In order to predict the dynamic performance of
the Pelton turbines, it is necessary to perform the
fundamental dynamic flow analysis of the rotating
multi-buckets for a single jet. By applying the
method of animated-cartoon frames[1], the
fundamental flow analysis was executed for the
consecutive frames.
To consider the negative scale effect of the
Pelton turbines[7], the expansion of water jet along
the jet axis was modeled by introducing the radial
jet expansion rate kRj = (RjR0)/(XjX0), where R0,
and X0 is the jet radius and the axial position of jet
contraction, respectively, and Rj is the radius at the
position Xj as shown in Fig.1[12,13]. Under the
assumption of the constant kRj for the specific
operating condition, the dynamic jet radius RJ,i at
the entrance of the rotating bucket at a moment of
Frame #i was computed for the position XJ,i as
follows:

RJ ,i = R0 + k Rj ( X J ,i X 0 )

The jet is discretized into multi-layers and


represented by the streamlines at the center of the
respective layer as shown in Fig.3. The jet enters
the splitter of bucket, then becomes the water sheet
flow having the free-surface with the Inner Moving
Boundary (IMB) and the Outer Moving Boundary
(OMB) on the inner surface of bucket[15]. Figure 4
shows an example of the free-surface flow pattern
with the various depths on the upper half of rotating
bucket[16,17]. The color of water sheet illustrates the
distribution of water depth H in the flow pattern.
On a relevant flow strip, all of the fluid particles
entered the bucket simultaneously[18].

Fig. 3 Fluid particle on bucket surface

(1)

The dynamic jet velocity CJ,i at the relevant


entrance was computed from the contraction
velocity C0 as follows:

CJ ,i = C0 (

R0 2
)
RJ ,i

(2)

The contraction jet data C0, R0, X0, and the


radius expansion rate kRj for the fundamental single
jet were numerically predicted from the
axi-symmetric two-phase flow analysis[14] as shown
in Fig. 2.

Fig.2 Jet contraction at nozzle outlet

Fig. 4 Free-surface flow pattern

After the head of the water flow has reached


the brim, the water sheet flowed out of the brim of
bucket. The instantaneous specific hydraulic energy
Eijk, the relative discharge Qijk, and the hydraulic
power Pijk of a fluid Particle #k on the flow Strip
#
j in the water sheet flow in the rotating bucket at
the moment of Frame #i were computed from the
flow analysis data as follows[1]:

Eijk = U ijk Cuijk

(3)

Qijk = Wijk Bnijk H ijk

(4)

Pijk = Eijk Qijk

(5)

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where Uijk, Cuijk, Wijk, Bnijk, and Hijk are the


peripheral speed, the absolute circumferential
velocity, the relative velocity, the breadth normal to
Wijk, and the depth of water sheet for the fluid
particle, respectively.
2.2 Numerical procedure of performance prediction
2.2.1 Jet energy and jet discharge
Under the constant specific hydraulic energy
ET of turbine, ET= gH, where H is the net head of
the turbine, and the fixed needle stroke Sn and the
instantaneous kinetic energy of free jet EJ,i at the
moment of Frame #i was computed as follows:

E J ,i =
E J ,i =

C J2,i
2

, (i < ilastIn )

C J2,i _ lastIn
2

, (i > ilastIn )

(6a)

(6b)

where CJ,i is the dynamic jet velocity at the splitter


position XJ,i according to Eqs. (1) and (2), and ilastIn
the frame at the last inflow to the bucket,
respectively. The turbine discharge per a single
nozzle Q0 was computed referring to the jet
contraction:

Q0 = C0 R02

(7)

2.2.2 Inflow discharge, power and specific energy


to bucket
The instantaneous inflow discharge Qin,i, the
power Pin,i and the specific energy Ein,i at the
moment of the relevant Frame #i were obtained by
integrating with the Particle #k along the Splitter #j,
respectively, as follows:

Qin,i = k (Qijk )

(8)

Pin ,i = k (Pijk )

(9)

Ein ,i

E Q
P
= in ,i = k ijk ijk
Qin ,i
Qin ,i

according to the equations similar to Eqs. (8) to


(10), respectively.
2.2.4 Cutflow discharge, power and specific energy
from bucket
If a part of water sheet flow in the bucket
spilled out of the cutout, the instantaneous cutflow
discharge Q cut ,i , the power P cut ,i and the specific
energy E cut ,i i at the moment of the relevant Frame
#
i were obtained by integrating with the Particle #k
along the Cutout #j according to the equations
similar to Eqs. (8) to (10), respectively.
2.2.5 Loss power with rear-interference and
discharge loss
In the operation of higher unit speed nDH, the
jet velocity C0 decreases under the constant
peripheral speed Uref, and the rear surface of bucket
pushes the trailing-edge of the retarded jet truncated
by the bucket. This rear-interference[19] at the
moment of the Frame #i was numerically acquired
by the instantaneous negative power Prear,i

Prear,i = (

Vrear,i
t F

2
Rrear,
i)

(11)

where Vrear,i is the virtual volume of the jet


trailing-edge to be displaced by the rear surface,
t F the elapsed time per a frame, and Rrear,i the
rotating radius of the virtual volume, respectively,
as shown in Fig.5.

Fig. 5 Loss power with rear-interference

(10)

2.2.3 Outflow discharge, power and specific energy


from bucket
The instantaneous outflow discharge Q out ,i ,
the power P out ,i and the specific energy E out ,i at
the moment of the relevant Frame #i were obtained
by integrating with the Particle #k along the Brim #j

Moreover, there is a possibility of the unsteady


discharge loss Qjet due to the ineffective jet that
does not enter the bucket as shown in Fig.6. The
amount of Q jet was acquired through the
numerical analysis.
2.2.6 Dynamic performance EB, QB, and PB of a
rotating bucket
At the moment of the relevant Frame #i, the
dynamic specific hydraulic energy EB,i of a bucket
B

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QB,i is defined based on the jet discharge Q0 as

is

EB ,i = Ein,i Eout,i Ecut,i , (i < ilastIn )


EB ,i = Ein,i_lastIn Eout,i Ecut,i , (i > ilastIn )

(12a)
(12b)

follows:

QB ,i =

The dynamic residing discharge in a bucket


QB,i is

QB ,i = i Qin,i i Qout,i i Qcut,i

(13)

QB ,i
Q0

in,i

Q0

q q
in

where qin=

i Qout,i i Qcut,i

out

in

i qcut

=
(17)

/ Q 0 , are the non-dimensional

and the dynamic hydraulic power of a bucket PB,i is

discharges, respectively.
The dynamic power efficiency PB ,i of a

PB ,i = Pin,i Pout,i Pcut,i Prear,i

bucket is defined based on the bucket input power


EB ,i QB ,i as follows:

(14)

The dynamic performance of a bucket for a


single jet was obtained by computing Eqs. (12) to
(14) from the Frame #0 at the first contact of the
splitter tip on the jet surface till the Frame #ilastOut at
the discharge of the last fluid particle from the
bucket.

PB ,i =

PB ,i
EB ,i QB ,i

Pin,i Pout,i Pcut,i Prear,i


EB ,i QB ,i

pin pout pcut prear

(18)

where pin= Pin,i/(EB,i QB,i), is the non-dimensional


power.
The dynamic hydraulic efficiency hB ,i of a
bucket is

hB ,i =

2.2.7 Dynamic efficiency of Pelton turbine


The dynamic jet efficiency J ,i instantaneous
at the Frame #i is

E J ,i

(15)

ET

The dynamic energy efficiency EB,i of a


bucket is defined based on the jet energy EJ,i at the
entrance of bucket as follows:

EB ,i =

E B ,i
E J ,i

Ein,i Eout,i Ecut,i


E J ,i

ET Q0

EJ ,i EB ,i QB ,i

= ein eout ecut


(16)

where ein=Ein,i/EJ,i, etc. are the non-dimensional


specific hydraulic energies, respectively.
The dynamic discharge efficiency of a bucket

PB ,i

ET EJ ,i Q0 EB ,i QB ,i

J ,i EB ,iQB ,i PB ,i

Fig. 6 Unsteady discharge loss due to ineffective jet

J ,i =

PB ,i

=
(19)

At the moment of the relevant Frame #i, the


three or four buckets are simultaneously interacting
with a single jet as shown in Fig.1. The dynamic
hydraulic efficiency hT,i of the Pelton turbine was
computed by integrating the respective bucket
efficiency hB,i in Eq. (19) for the whole relevant
buckets in a runner.
2.2.8

Time-averaged overall efficiencies and


deficiencies in Pelton turbine
In order to get the time-averaged overall
efficiency of the Pelton turbine, the dynamic
hydraulic power PB,i of a bucket in Eq. (14) was
integrated to get the power PR,i of a runner and
time-averaged to obtain the overall output power PT.
By applying the usual turbine energy ET and the
turbine discharge QT specified in the IEC model
acceptance code, the time-averaged overall

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efficiency hT of the turbine is

hT =

component deficiencies of Eqs. (20) to (23) at the


moment of Frame #i.

PT
ET QT

(20)

Corresponding to the dynamic jet efficiency J,i,


the dynamic jet deficiency J,i is

J , i = 1 J ,i =

ET EJ ,i

(21)

ET

The deficiency includes the hydraulic losses in


the distributing pipe with the branches, in the
nozzle/needle, and in the free jet from the nozzle
throat to the entrance of bucket at the moment of
Frame #i. The dynamic energy deficiency EB ,i of
a bucket was determined from Eq. (16) as follows:

EB ,i = 1 EB ,i =

E J ,i E B ,i
E J ,i

Ecut,i
E J ,i

i = i* F in
(22)

At the moment when the relative cutflow


velocity Wcut.i has the similar direction as the
peripheral speed Ucut,i, the absolute cutflow velocity
Cucut,i is large, resulting in the large cutflow
deficiency EB ,i .The dynamic discharge deficiency
of a bucket QB ,i was directly determined from Eq.
(17):

QB ,i = 1 QB ,i =

Qjet
Q0

(23)

The dynamic power deficiency PB ,i of a


bucket was determined from Eq. (18) as follows:

PB ,i = 1 PB ,i =

Prear,i
EB ,i QB ,i

space,

and

simultaneously

ti = i* F / in time. Hereunder, the Frame #i


is used as the abscissa in the dynamic curve of the
performances.
3.2 Dynamic discharge efficiency of bucket
At the optimum unit speed nDH = 40 rpm as
shown in Fig. 7 (b), the non-dimensional inflow
discharge qin= Qin/Q0 to the bucket rapidly increases
with increasing penetration of bucket to the jet up to
the Frame #14. The full jet enters the bucket
during the frames from Frame #14 to Frame #43.
The inflow decreases from Frame #43 to Frame #60
due to the penetration of the following bucket to the
jet. The outflow discharge qout = Qout/Q0 from the
bucket has the similar locus as that of qin with the
time shift of flowing in the bucket from the splitter
to the brim. There is a small amount of cutflow
qcut = Qcut/Q0 out of the cutout during the frames
between Frame #60 and Frame #80. The discharge
efficiency of bucket QB = QB/Q0 implies, by
definition with Eq. (17), the amount of discharge
residing in the bucket at the every moment, and
reaches the maximum of 13.5 times of the jet
discharge Q0. Since all of the jets enter the bucket,
there is no discharge loss QB ,i =Qjet/Q0 due to the
B

(24)

The dynamic hydraulic deficiency hB ,i of a


bucket is approximately

hB ,i = 1 hB ,i J ,i + EB ,i + QB ,i + PB ,i

3. NUMERICAL RESULTS OF DYNAMIC


PERFORMANCE PREDICTION
3.1 Numerical setup
A Pelton runner having the geometrical
specific speed B/Dref of 0.35 with 18 buckets was
chosen to be the numerical analysis, where B is the
bucket inner breadth and Dref the reference runner
diameter. Under the optimum unit speed nDH = 40
rpm, the needle stroke Sn/Rt was set to 0.892 where
Rt is the nozzle tip radius, and the jet radius
expansion rate was assumed as kRj = 0.05 %. The
value of kRj varied with nDH, 0.2 % for 30 rpm and
50 rpm[13]. The infinitesimal rotating angle F
per a frame was set to the 1.0o by equally dividing a
pitch angle between the two buckets into 20 frames.
The Frame #i corresponds to the rotational angle of

(25)

The dynamic hydraulic deficiency of the


Pelton turbine was computed with the sum of four

ineffective jet.
When the unit speed is lower than the
optimum as shown in Fig. 7 (a), the jet velocity
becomes higher under the constant peripheral speed.
All of the dynamic discharges happen within the
shorter frames without the occurrence of qcut. The

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discharge efficiency QB of bucket decreases to


11.2. There is no discharge loss due to the
ineffective jet.

because the outflow emerges from the brim in the


reverse direction to the rotation of bucket. The
amount of the cutflow energy ecut = Ecut,i/EJ,i is not
negligible due to the large circumferential
component Cucut of the cutflow velocity. The
variation of dynamic energy efficiency EB of the
bucket, EB = EB/EJ,i is not remarkable.
When the unit speed is lower than the
optimum as shown in Fig. 8 (a), the dynamic jet
efficiency J ,i decreases rapidly due to the
B

increased expansion rate kRj = 0.2 %. The inflow


energy ein = (Uin,i Cuin,i)/(CJ,i2/2) Uin,i/CJ,i tends
to decrease with increasing CJ. The absolute value
of the negative outflow energy eout is larger because
of the larger outflow velocity. There is no cutflow
energy ecut due to the absence of cutflow discharge.

Fig. 7 Dynamic discharge efficiency

In the case of higher unit speed as shown in


Fig. 7 (c), it takes more time to inflow and outflow
with decreasing jet velocity. The amount of
cutflow, as well as the amount of unsteady
discharge loss Qjet due to the ineffective jet
increase with increasing nDH.
3.3 Dynamic energy efficiency of bucket
At the optimum unit speed as shown in Fig. 8
(b), the dynamic jet efficiency J,i = Cj,i2/(2ET)
slightly decreases with increasing flow distance due
to the small expansion of jet toward downstream,
kRj = 0.05 %.
On the contrary, the
non-dimensional inflow energy ein = Ein,i/EJ,i tends
to increase with frames, because the splitter tends to
be perpendicular to the jet with its rotation. After
the frame of the last inflow to the Bucket #60, both
the jet efficiency and the inflow energy are assumed
to be constant irrespective of the frame. The
outflow energy eout=Eout,i/EJ,i has the negative value

Fig. 8

Dynamic energy efficiency

In the case of higher unit speed as shown in


Fig. 8 (c), the dynamic jet efficiency J,i decreases
more rapidly due to the more increased expansion
rate kRj = 0.2 % for nDH = 50rpm. The level of the
inflow energy ein increases with increasing nDH.

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The absolute value of the negative outflow energy


eout becomes smaller, and turns to be positive
because of the higher positive component of the
outflow velocity. The cutflow energy ecut becomes
very large with increasing nDH.
3.4 Dynamic power efficiency of bucket
At the optimum unit speed as shown in Fig. 9
(b), the non-dimensional inflow power pin=
Pin,i/(EB,i QB,i) to the bucket is very large (out of
scale close to 1.0) at the beginning stage of frames
due to the small denominator, and decreases toward
zero at the frame of the last inflow. The outflow
power pout is negative corresponding to the negative
outflow energy eout, and sharply increases from the
Frame #77 to the last outflow from Bucket #91 due
to the small positive eout. There is a small amount
of cutflow power pcut during the frames between
Frame #60 and Frame #80. The dynamic power
efficiency PB of the bucket PB = PB/(EBI, QB,i)
rapidly decreases with frames down to the negative
value due to the large positive pout.
B

efficiency PB,i once decreases with decreasing pin,


and turns to increase by the decrease of pout. There
is no cutflow power pcut.
In the case of higher unit speed as shown in
Fig. 9 (c), the rear-interference power deficiency
PB,I = Prear,i/(EB,i QB,i) occurs in the first stage.
The amount of cutflow power pcut increases with
increasing nDH. As a result, the dynamic power
efficiency PB,i is damaged by the rear-interference
power deficiency PB,i at the first stage and by the
cutflow power deficiency at the last stage of
Frames.
3.5 Dynamic hydraulic efficiency of Pelton turbine
According to Eqs. (15) and (16), the product of
J and EB gives the energy efficiency E of
turbine as follows:

E ,i =

EB ,i
ET

= J ,iEB ,i

(26)

The dynamic energy efficiencies E of the


turbine for the various nDH are summarized in the
upper part of Fig. 10. The final stage of the
dynamic curves for nDH of 50 is deteriorated by the
serious cutflow. The dynamic behavior of the
hydraulic efficiency hB of a bucket is
summarized in the lower part of Fig. 10. The
deterioration of the dynamic efficiency at lower nDH
is small, on the contrary, its deterioration is serious
with nDH higher than the optimum due to the
dynamic rear-interference power deficiency PB ,
the dynamic discharge deficiency QB due to the
ineffective jet, and the dynamic cutflow power
deficiency pcut even under the single jet operation.

Fig. 9 Dynamic power efficiency

When the unit speed is lower than the


optimum as shown in Fig. 9 (a), the dynamic power

Fig. 10

Dynamic hydraulic efficiency

363

Those deficiencies have the tendency to


increase with increasing Reynolds number, and
become more serious in the multi-nozzle Pelton
turbines[20]. The quantitative study of those dynamic
deficiencies will be the urgent future task to clarify
the negative scale effect of the Pelton turbines.
The performance equations presented are not yet
elegant, nevertheless, may be a milestone for the
dynamic performance prediction considering the
negative scale effect.

Fig.11(a), the absolute outflow velocity is very


large and its direction is opposite to jet. In the case
of higher unit speed as shown in Fig.11(c), besides
the outflow, there are cutflow and ineffective jet
within it.
In Table 1, the computational results are
compared with the experimental results for the
time- averaged overall efficiency hT at different
nDH. The errors between the computed and
experimental results for the various nDH are about
1.2%, 1.4% and 2.1%, respectively. In the case of
lower nDH, the key factor to decrease the efficiency
is the shorter residence of water flow in the open
bucket. On the contrary, in the case of higher nDH,
the rear-interference, the ineffective jet and cutflow
cause the efficiency deterioration rapidly.
Table 1 Comparison of time-averaged overall efficiency

hT

Fig. 11 Dynamic water flow in model test of Pelton turbine

3.6 Time-averaged overall efficiency hT of


turbine
The hydraulic performance of this Pelton
turbine was resulted from model experiment. At the
optimum unit speed as shown in Fig.11(b), the
absolute outflow velocity is close to zero. When the
unit speed is lower than the optimum as shown in

Unit speed

30 rpm

40 rpm

50 rpm

Computational result

80.6%

92.4%

80.3%

Experimental results

81.7%

91.1%

78.6%

4. CONCLUDING REMARKS
The fundamental equations of dynamic
hydraulic performance have been derived for the
Pelton turbine under the single jet operation through
the flow analysis based on the animated-cartoon
frame method.
As a result of the dynamic
performance prediction for the various unit speed
nDH under the optimum needle stroke, the following
conclusions can be reached.
(1) The smaller efficiency decrease at the
lower nDH is mainly resulted from the shorter
residence of water flow in the open bucket.
(2) On the contrary, the larger efficiency
deterioration at the higher nDH is due to the
rear-interference deficiency in the first stage, the
discharge deficiency due to the ineffective jet, and
the cutflow deficiency due to the spilt flow from the
cutout of the bucket in the last stage of the dynamic
performance.
(3) The ineffective jet and the cutflow may
introduce the jet interference in the multi-nozzle
Pelton turbines.
(4) The three dynamic deficiencies are the key
words for the negative scale effect of the Pelton
turbines.

364

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