Heat exchange in air-cooled condensers (ACC) is achieved by forced convection of fresh air on bundle of tubes by means of forced-draft axial-flow fans. These fans are characterized by low solidity and low hub ratio, large diameters, relatively low rotational velocity, high efficiencies. This combination usually leads to fans with non-stalling characteristics, with pressure rise continuously rising when reducing the flow rate, at least in standard (ISO or AMCA) test rigs. In real-life installations, in fact, it is quite difficult to characterize these fans, due to the practical difficulties arising in setting up a proper test rig and to control the boundary conditions of the system, in particular the fan inflow conditions.

Here we focus on a real-life setting of ACC, numerically simulated with URANS. In this work the fan is simulated with a Synthetic Blade Model presented in [1]. This model is derived from actuator disk theory, and allows to simulate the unsteady movement of the blades and compute a non-constant azimuthal distribution of lift and drag forces, partially accounting for non-constant deviation in the blade-to-blade passage, while drastically reducing the mesh requirements. In this way it is possible to model the shedding of wakes behind the blades and their interaction with the heat exchanger. The flow will be assumed to be incompressible, due to the low Mach number and heat transfer will be treated assuming temperature to be a passive scalar convected by the flow.

Duty point of the fan and heat exchange in the ACC will be studied while inflow conditions, in order to account for free inflow with a constant velocity distribution as well as distortions due to lateral wind. Computations will be carried out on the Virtual Test Rig of developed at Sapienza within the OpenFOAM 2.3.x library with a URANS approach and k-ε closure.

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