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Chapter 6: Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

This tutorial includes:


6.1. Before You Begin
6.2. Starting ANSYS TurboGrid
6.3. Defining the Geometry
6.4. Defining the Topology
6.5. Reviewing the Mesh Data Settings
6.6. Reviewing the Mesh Quality on the Hub and Shroud Tip Layers
6.7. Adding Intermediate Layers
6.8. Generating the Mesh
6.9. Analyzing the Mesh
6.10. Adding Inlet and Outlet Domains
6.11. Regenerating the Mesh
6.12. Analyzing the New Mesh
6.13. Saving the Mesh
6.14. Saving the State (Optional)

This tutorial teaches you how to:

• Switch to a Meridional (A-R) projection in the viewer.

• Change the shape and position of the Inlet and Outlet geometry objects which bound the blade
passage in the streamwise direction.

• Specify the use of a General Grid Interface on the periodic surfaces of the blade passage.

• Extend the mesh by adding inlet and outlet domains.

As you work through this tutorial, you will create a mesh for a blade passage of a fan. A typical blade
passage, inlet domain, and outlet domain, are shown by the black outline in the figure below.

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Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

The fan contains 10 blades that revolve about the negative Z-axis. A clearance gap exists between the
blades and the shroud, with a width of 5% of the total span. The shroud diameter is approximately 26.4
cm.

Let the mesh contain an inlet domain and an outlet domain.

6.1. Before You Begin


If this is your first tutorial, review the topics in Introduction to the ANSYS TurboGrid Tutorials (p. 1).

6.2. Starting ANSYS TurboGrid


1. Prepare the working directory using the files in the examples/fan directory.

For details, see Preparing a Working Directory (p. 1).

2. Set the working directory and start ANSYS TurboGrid.

For details, see Setting the Working Directory and Starting ANSYS TurboGrid (p. 1).

6.3. Defining the Geometry


To obtain the basic geometry, you will load a BladeGen.inf file. After inspecting the geometry and
improving the shape of the inlet and outlet, you will finish defining the geometry by creating the required
gap between the blade and the shroud.

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Defining the Geometry

Load the BladeGen.inf file, then inspect the geometry by viewing it in axial-radial coordinates:

1. Click File > Load BladeGen.

2. Open BladeGen.inf from the working directory.

3. Right-click a blank area in the viewer, and click Transformation > Meridional (A-R) from the shortcut
menu.

The passage inlet, which appears in the object selector as Geometry > Inlet, is the upstream end
of the blade passage (but not necessarily the upstream end of the mesh, since, as you will see in this
tutorial, you can add an inlet domain upstream of the passage inlet). The passage inlet is generated by
revolving a curve, which is defined in an axial-radial plane, about the machine axis. That curve is, in
turn, generated according to a set of points, known here as inlet points. These points appear as white
octahedrons in the viewer. The passage outlet is analogous to the passage inlet, and is downstream of
the blade passage.

Notice that, in this case, there are two inlet points and they are located at different distances from the
blade. In order to obtain a high-quality mesh topology for the blade passage, the inlet points should
be repositioned.

The outlet points should also be repositioned; they should be moved closer to the blade to reduce the
aspect ratio of mesh elements immediately downstream of the blade trailing edge, as shown in Fig-
ure 6.1: Effect of Moving Passage Outlet Towards Blade (p. 46).

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Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

Figure 6.1: Effect of Moving Passage Outlet Towards Blade

Reposition the inlet and outlet points as follows, and observe the movement of the inlet and outlet
points in the viewer:

1. Open Geometry > Inlet.

2. Select Low Hub Point, then set Method to Set A and Location to -0.008.

3. Click Apply.

4. Select Low Shroud Point, then set Method to Set A and Location to 0.002.

5. Click Apply.

6. Open Geometry > Outlet.

7. Select Low Hub Point, then set Method to Set A and Location to 0.03.

8. Click Apply.

9. Select Low Shroud Point, then set Method to Set A and Location to 0.03.

10. Click Apply.

To complete the geometry, create a small gap between the blade and the shroud. The blade should
be shortened to 95% of its original span because the gap width, as specified in the problem description,
is 5% of the total span.

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Defining the Topology

1. Open Geometry > Blade Set > Shroud Tip.

2. Set Tip Option to Constant Span.

3. Set Span to 0.95.

4. Click Apply.

6.4. Defining the Topology


For this fan mesh, H/J/C/L-Grid is an appropriate topology choice.

1. Open Topology Set.

2. Set Topology Definition > Placement to Traditional with Control Points .

This provides access to the legacy topology methods. The other option, ATM Optimized, provides
access to the newest topology method.

3. Set Topology Definition > Method to H/J/C/L-Grid.

The H/J/C/L-Grid method causes TurboGrid to choose an H-Grid, J-Grid, C-Grid, L-Grid, or a combin-
ation of these, based on heuristics. To override TurboGrid’s choice, you may select one of the other
menu options. Normally, you would choose the H/J/C/L-Grid method for the first attempt at
a mesh, then change the method if required. For details on the H/J/C/L-Grid method, see
H/J/C/L Topology Definition in the TurboGrid User's Guide.

4. Ensure that Include O-Grid is selected.

This adds an O-Grid around the blade to increase mesh orthogonality in that region.

5. Set Include O-Grid > Width Factor to 0.3.

This will specify the O-Grid thickness to be approximately equal to 30% of the average blade width.
This value is smaller than the default value of 0.5 because of the relatively short distance between
the blades, compared to the blade thickness, at the hub. In general, a suitable value of the O-Grid
thickness depends on the blade geometry and topology type. Trial-and-error adjustments are
sometimes required to establish a good value when creating the first mesh for a particular blade.

6. Set One-to-one Interface Ranges > Periodic to None.

This allows the nodes to be misaligned across the periodic interface; the nodes on one periodic
surface are not required to connect in a one-to-one fashion with the nodes on the other periodic
surface. When you set up the resulting mesh in a CFD simulation, a General Grid Interface will be
required to connect the periodic surfaces. While such an interface may require more processing
time and may be less accurate than a one-to-one interface, the benefit of using a GGI interface is
that the passage mesh can be made with less skew. This setting is often beneficial when the blade
has a high stagger angle.

7. Leave Periodicity > Projection set to Float on Surface.

This allows the periodic surface of the mesh to deviate from the geometric periodic surface, in order
to improve mesh skewness properties along the periodic boundary. The topology on a given layer
floats on the layer, but is not constrained to stop exactly on the intersection of the layer with the
geometric periodic surface.

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Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

8. Click Apply to set the topology.

9. Right-click Topology Set and turn off Suspend Object Updates.

After a short time, the topology is generated.

10. Click Freeze to freeze the topology settings.

It is recommended that you freeze the topology after you specify and generate it. This prevents
the settings on the Advanced Parameters tab of Topology Set > Blade 1 from inadvertently
changing due to changes to the geometry or the topology distribution. For example, an adjustment
to the position of an inlet point could cause a change to the number of topology blocks from the
blade to the inlet.

6.5. Reviewing the Mesh Data Settings


1. Set Method to Topology Block Edge Split .

2. Set # of Elements to 2.

As prescribed in the problem description, the mesh should contain an inlet domain and an outlet domain.
For now, leave the Inlet Domain and Outlet Domain check boxes cleared; you will select these check
boxes later in this tutorial. The inlet domain contains some degenerate elements where the hub reaches
zero radius. The degenerate elements affect the mesh statistics, and make it more difficult to analyze
the quality of the rest of the mesh.

6.6. Reviewing the Mesh Quality on the Hub and Shroud Tip Layers
Before generating the 3D mesh, it is recommended that you check the mesh quality on the layers, es-
pecially the hub and shroud tip layers. By correcting any mesh problems early, you can save time by
minimizing the number of times you generate the full 3D mesh.

For a more detailed analysis of the mesh quality on a layer, open the layer object and read the list of
mesh measures. If the mesh measures are not shown, select Refined Mesh Visibility and click Apply.
The mesh measures show the extreme values for the mesh elements. If any of the mesh measures are
considered “bad”, they are listed in red text. The criteria for “bad” mesh elements are set in the Mesh
Analysis > Mesh Limits object. Note that, in particular, the quality criterion for the Maximum
Aspect Ratio mesh measure is controlled by the Edge Length Ratio setting in the Mesh Analysis
> Mesh Limits object. You can double-click a red mesh measure to color the “bad” mesh elements
red in the viewer.

The Layers > Shroud Tip object is shown in red text in the object selector. In the next section, you
will modify the shroud tip layer to improve the quality.

6.6.1. Modifying the Shroud Tip Layer


1. Right-click a blank area in the viewer, and click Transformation > Blade-to-Blade (Theta-M') from the
shortcut menu.

This causes the viewer to use blade-to-blade coordinates, making it easy to see the mesh topology.
This coordinate system is angle-preserving and minimizes the effect of changing radius on viewing
and manipulation.

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Adding Intermediate Layers

2. Click Hide all geometry objects .

3. Turn off the visibility of Layers > Hub.

4. Open Layers > Shroud Tip.

5. Double-click Maximum Face Angle.

The face angles need improvement near the upstream end.

6. Hold Ctrl+Shift and drag the master control point as indicated by the displacement vector in Fig-
ure 6.2: Master Control Points Adjusted on Shroud Tip Layer (p. 49). The length of the displacement
vector is a general guide for where to position the control point. Precise positioning of the point is
unnecessary.

Note

To select and drag control points without holding down Ctrl+Shift, you can click the
Select icon, then select and drag control points with the left mouse button.

Figure 6.2: Master Control Points Adjusted on Shroud Tip Layer

6.7. Adding Intermediate Layers


ANSYS TurboGrid can add layers as required in order to capture spanwise variations in the geometry.
This process happens when you generate a mesh, but can also be initiated manually, as demonstrated
next:

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Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

1. Turn on the visibility of Layers > Hub to show the hub layer, then right-click a blank area in the
viewer, and click Transformation > Cartesian (X-Y-Z) from the shortcut menu.

2. Right-click in the viewer and click Predefined Camera > Isometric View (Y up).

By viewing the hub and shroud layers from this angle, you can see where the new layers are added.

3. Open Layers.

Note that the message indicates that 7 layers will be added.

4. Click Auto Add Layers .

ANSYS TurboGrid adds additional layers as required; in this case, 7 layers are added.

5. Turn on the visibility of a new layer to see it in the viewer.

6. To check the mesh quality on a new layer, open it, select Refined Mesh Visibility, and click Apply.

Note that the face angles are acceptable on the new layers.

6.8. Generating the Mesh


Now that the topology has been defined and the mesh quality is acceptable on all layers, generate the
mesh:

• Click Insert > Mesh.

6.9. Analyzing the Mesh


Check the 3D mesh statistics:

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Analyzing the New Mesh

• Open Mesh Analysis.

The mesh statistics shown here may differ slightly from what you see, mainly due to the freehand
movement of the control points:

The mesh statistics are in reasonable shape for a coarse mesh.

You can double-click one of the items in red to see the locations in the mesh where the statistics fail
to meet the criteria set in Mesh Analysis > Mesh Limits. Further improvements to the mesh are
possible, but are beyond the scope of this tutorial.

6.10. Adding Inlet and Outlet Domains


As specified in the problem description, the mesh should contain an inlet domain and an outlet domain.
Add these next:

1. Open Mesh Data.

2. On the Mesh Size tab, select Inlet Domain and Outlet Domain.

3. Click Apply.

6.11. Regenerating the Mesh


After specifying that inlet and outlet domains should be added, the original mesh was deleted. Generate
the new mesh:

• Click Insert > Mesh.

6.12. Analyzing the New Mesh


1. Open Mesh Analysis. Note that the Maximum Edge Length Ratio mesh measure is extremely
large. By displaying this mesh measure, you will see that some of the mesh elements that exceed the
criterion are those at the inlet where the mesh meets the rotation axis. This is expected, since the element
edges at this location have zero length. This is normal and expected wherever the hub reaches the axis
of rotation.

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Axial Fan Using Traditional Topology

2. View the mesh on the inlet and outlet (not the passage inlet and outlet, but the inlet and outlet of the
entire mesh) by turning on the visibility of the corresponding 3D Mesh objects.

6.13. Saving the Mesh


Save the mesh:

1. Click File > Save Mesh As.

2. Ensure that File type is set to ANSYS CFX.

3. Set Export Units to cm.

4. Set File name to fan.gtm.

5. Ensure that your working directory is set correctly.

6. Click Save.

6.14. Saving the State (Optional)


If you want to revisit this mesh at a later date, save the state:

1. Click File > Save State As.

2. Enter an appropriate state file name.

3. Click Save.

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