The present work aims at investigating a new methodology developed at Ansaldo Energia, for the transient finite element modelling of the whole engine with an axisymmetric approach.

The strong coupling and non linearity in the heat transfer process during transient thermal analyses are handled by a partly coupled scheme. The 2D axisymmetric finite element model includes a dedicated thermal fluid network where fluid-metal temperatures are computed. In the overall procedure the selected finite element solver is a customized version of CalculiX®, while mass flow rates and pressure distributions in each thermal fluid network element are provided by external fluid network solvers in terms of customized time series.

This paper represents a first insight about a fully integrated WEM (Whole Engine Modelling) procedure currently under development. Geometrical changes during operation, lead to different fluid properties affecting heat transfer coefficients too. These modified conditions in their turn impact the material temperature and displacements. The future implementation steps will be oriented on the adoption of a customized version of the native CalculiX® fluid network solver with the aim of developing a fully integrated procedure able to take into account the interaction between the secondary air system and the modifications in the clearances and gaps due to the thermal and mechanical loads.

In this paper, a detailed description of the procedure will be reported with comprehensive discussions about some fundamental modelling aspects. Preliminary results, related to the first application of the new methodology to the transient thermal modelling of a simplified test case representative of real engine geometries, will be presented.

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