The stress analysis of the runner due to different loading is one of the most important tools that contribute its structural integrity evaluation. Finite element method has shown to be a strong numerical technique to provide good engineering accuracy. In this paper, the flow induced stresses in a Francis turbine runner is presented by using the finite element analysis. The runner geometry considered within the computational domain was modelled by using a three-dimensional laser triangulation scanner coupled with a portable coordinate measurement system. The runner geometry was generated by a number of 3D sub models, one for each of the main components of the runner, crown, band and a blade. In order to obtain a blade geometry a portable coordinate measurement system based on optical digitalization technology (scanner technology) was used. Because of symmetry, only a section of the runner domain was used for the finite element analysis. The runner was modeled with twenty-node solid elements. Loads due to pressure on the blade were derived from CFD computations for the runner at different power conditions (100%, 85% and 75%) for a medium head hydro power plant. CFD computations were carried out using the Finite Volume Method implement within FINE™/Turbo by NUMECA. The turbulence mathematical model used for the CFD computation was the Sparlart-Allmaras. The mesh of the turbine runner included different computational domains. For the runner blades the computational domain (mesh block) was defined in order to capture the complete blade row. All mesh blocks were structured hexahedral. Centrifugal force based on the rotational speed was considered. Also, a combined type loading analysis was computed including both pressure and centrifugal force. Appropriate boundary conditions were set in order to obtain the results due to the different type of analysis. The number of finite elements included in the FEM model was able to capture the pressure gradients on the blade surfaces obtained from the CFD results, which were investigated by application of a three dimensional Navier-Stoke commercial turbomachinery oriented CFD code. Analysis of the flow through the spiral case and stay vanes was carried out so as to include appropriate flow effects induced by these components and boundary conditions at the inlet of the wicket. A CFD analysis for the wicket and runner was carried out to generate the so called CFD reference solution. The analysis presented in this paper represents an initial characterization in order to increase understanding about combined loads acting on blades and to establish a reference state of stresses further comparison after refurbishments or optimization of the runner blades for a medium head hydroelectric power station.

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