In turbomachinery, it is well known that tighter operating clearances improve the efficiency. However, this leads to unwanted potential unilateral and frictional contact occurrences between the rotating (blades) and stationary components (casings) together with attendant thermal excitations. Unilateral contact induces discontinuities in the velocity at impact times, hence the terminology nonsmooth dynamics. Current modeling strategies of rotor-stator interactions are either based on regularizing penalty methods or on explicit time-marching methods derived from Carpenter’s forward Lagrange multiplier method. Regularization introduces an artificial time scale in the formulation corresponding to numerical stiffness which is not desirable. Carpenter’s scheme has been successfully applied to turbomachinery industrial models in the sole mechanical framework, but faces serious stability issues when dealing with the additional heat equation.

This work overcomes the above issues by using the Moreau–Jean nonsmooth integration scheme within an implicit θ-method. This numerical scheme is based on a mathematically sound description of the contact dynamics by means of measure differential inclusions and enjoys attractive features. The procedure is unconditionally stable opening doors to quick preliminary simulations with time-steps one hundred times larger than with previous algorithms. It can also deal with strongly coupled thermomechanical problems.

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