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Flow Modeling and Runner Design Optimization in Turgo Water Turbines

Authors: John S. Anagnostopoulos, Dimitrios E. Papantonis


The incorporation of computational fluid dynamics in the design of modern hydraulic turbines appears to be necessary in order to improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness beyond the traditional design practices. A numerical optimization methodology is developed and applied in the present work to a Turgo water turbine. The fluid is simulated by a Lagrangian mesh-free approach that can provide detailed information on the energy transfer and enhance the understanding of the complex, unsteady flow field, at very small computing cost. The runner blades are initially shaped according to hydrodynamics theory, and parameterized using Bezier polynomials and interpolation techniques. The use of a limited number of free design variables allows for various modifications of the standard blade shape, while stochastic optimization using evolutionary algorithms is implemented to find the best blade that maximizes the attainable hydraulic efficiency of the runner. The obtained optimal runner design achieves considerably higher efficiency than the standard one, and its numerically predicted performance is comparable to a real Turgo turbine, verifying the reliability and the prospects of the new methodology.

Keywords: Evolutionary Algorithms, Design optimization, Turgo turbine, Lagrangian flow modeling, Surface parameterization

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