Engine Optimized Turbine Design

Abstract: The focus on our environment has never been as great as it is today. The impact of global warming and emissions from combustion processes become increasingly more evident with growing concerns among the world’s inhabitants. The consequences of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, urban air quality, etc. create a desperate need for immediate action. A major contributor to the cause of these effects is the transportation sector, a sector that relies heavily on the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels. The heavy-duty segment of the transportation sector is a major consumer of oil and is responsible for a large proportion of emissions.The global community has agreed on multiple levels to reduce the effect of man-made emissions into the atmosphere. Legislation for future reductions and, ultimately, a totally fossil-free society is on the agenda for many industrialized countries and an increasing number of emerging economies.Improvements of the internal combustion engine will be of importance in order to effectively reduce emissions from the transportation sector both presently and in the future. The primary focus of these improvements is undoubtedly in the field of engine efficiency. The gas exchange system is of major importance in this respect. The inlet and exhaust flows as the cylinder is emptied and filled will significantly influence the pumping work of the engine. At the center of the gas exchange system is the turbocharger. The turbine stage of the turbocharger can utilize the energy in the exhaust flow by expanding the exhaust gases in order to power the compressor stage of the turbocharger.If turbocharger components can operate at high efficiency, it is possible to achieve high engine efficiency and low fuel consumption. Low exhaust pressure during the exhaust stroke combined with high pressure at the induction stroke results in favorable pumping work. For the process to work, a systems-based approach is required as the turbocharger is only one component of the engine and gas exchange system.In this thesis, the implications of turbocharger turbine stage design with regards to exhaust energy utilization have been extensively studied. Emphasis has been placed on the turbine stage in a systems context with regards to engine performance and the influence of exhaust system components.The most commonly used turbine stage in turbochargers, the radial turbine, is associated with inherent limitations in the context of exhaust energy utilization. Primarily, turbine stage design constraints result in low efficiency in the pulsating exhaust flow, which impairs the gas exchange process. Gas stand and numerical evaluation of the common twin scroll radial turbine stage highlighted low efficiency levels at high loadings. For a pulse-turbocharged engine with low exhaust manifold volume, the majority of extracted work by the turbine will occur at high loadings, far from the optimum efficiency point for radial turbines. In order for the relevant conditions to be assessed with regards to turbine operation, the entire exhaust pulse must be considered in detail. Averaged conditions will not capture the variability in energy content of the exhaust pulse important for exhaust energy utilization.Modification of the radial turbine stage design in order to improve performance is very difficult to achieve. Typical re-sizing with modifying tip diameter and trim are not adequate for altering turbine operation into high efficiency regions at the energetic exhaust pulse peak.The axial turbine type is an alternative as a turbocharger turbine stage for a pulse-turbocharged engine. The axial turbine stage design can allow for high utilization of exhaust energy with minimal pressure interference in the gas exchange process; a combination which has been shown to result in engine efficiency improvements compared to state-of-the-art radial turbine stages.