Despite engine turbocharging being a widespread technology, there are still drawbacks present in current turbocharging systems stemming from the apparent mismatch between the periodic operation of a piston engine operating in conjunction with an essentially steady-state, rotordynamic machine (turbocharger). The primary issue remains the provision of adequate transient response thereby suppressing the issue of turbocharger lag (turbo-lag) or the poor initial response of the turbocharger to driver-commanded, engine operating point changes due to its inertia. Another problem is engine-turbocharger matching and operation under pulsating conditions in the exhaust manifold and generally unsteady engine operating conditions. The exhaust flows of internal combustion engines are characterized by pulsating flows at constant engine speeds (local pulsating effect) as well as “global” unsteadiness during engine transient events. Because of the volute volume and the length of the flow path, this unsteadiness generates a phase shift between mass flow, temperature and pressure at rotor inlet, and a stronger circumferential variation of the rotor inlet condition than in steady flow conditions. The shift and the variation increase the losses in the turbine, resulting in lower turbine efficiency.

The current paper develops original concept work carried out at Brunel University London to develop an innovative fluid-dynamic design for an axial turbine for turbocharger application. An axial flow turbine coupled with a specially-designed, outflow volute, arranged in a non-classical way, are the target of this work. CFD analysis and 1D simulation of an engine coupled with the innovative turbine have been performed to highlight the design potential.

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