Licentiate seminar

Flow and heat transfer in a turbocharger radial turbine

Defendant Main Advisor Extra Advisor Date
Shyang Maw Lim Mihai Mihaescu 2017-01-19

Niklas Andersson, Chalmers Tekniska Högskola

Evaluation committee


In the past decades, stricter legislation has been imposed to improve fuel economy and to reduce tail-end emissions of automotive vehicles worldwide. One of the important and effective technologies adopted by the automobile manufacturers to fulfill legislation requirements is the turbocharger technology. As unavoidable large temperature gradients exists in an automotive turbocharger, heat transfer is prominent. However, the effects of heat loss on the turbocharger turbine performance is unclear, i.e. there is no consensus about its effects among researchers. Therefore, the objective of the licentiate thesis is to investigate the effects of heat transfer on an automotive turbocharger radial turbine performance. Furthermore, the thesis also aims to quantify the heat transfer related losses in a turbocharger turbine. Both gas stand (continuous flow) and engine-like (pulsating flow) conditions are considered. By using Detached Eddy Simulation (DES), the flow field of the targeted turbocharger turbine is computed under adiabatic and non-adiabatic conditions. Energy balance and exergy concept are then applied to the simulations data to study the effects of heat loss on performance and to quantify the heat transfer related losses. The main findings of the licentiate thesis are 1) Pressure ratio drop in turbine is less sensitive to heat loss as compared with turbine power. Hence there is a risk of making wrong conclusions about the heat transfer effects on the turbine performance by just comparing the measured pressure ratio under adiabatic and non-adiabatic scenarios; 2) It is possible to quantify heat transfer related losses in a turbocharger turbine. This quantification allows understanding on how well the turbine system utilizes the available energy, and assisting identification of the system component that is sensitive to heat transfer; 3) Heat loss has insignificant effect on turbine power under the investigated engine-like pulsating flow condition; and 4) Even under unavoidable non-adiabatic conditions, much of the exergy discharged out to the environment and more effort could be done to recover the wasted exergy as useful turbine work in the current turbine system. The outcomes of the licentiate thesis naturally lead to the main focus of future work, i.e. exploring different exhaust valve strategies to minimize losses and to optimize flow exergy extraction as useful turbine work for better exhaust gas exergy utilization.
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