Fans used in tunnel ventilation operate for decades in an atmosphere that carries dust, soot, and other solid particles. The formation of deposit on the rotor blades, considering a so long time of exposition to this particle-laden flow, is highly probable. A not negligible quantity of deposited material can produce damages on the performance of the fan, but also mass unbalancing, which is potentially dangerous for the structural integrity of the fan components.
We applied our simulation tool to study a case of deposition on a large axial fan blade, used for tunnel ventilation. The outcome of the study is a parametric map of fouled blade geometries, obtained by simulating the deposition process over the increasing quantity of ingested particles mixture. The final map correlates the level and shape of deposit to the overall amount of particle ingested by the fan in its operating life. The same map can be easily used to predict the time needed in a specific application to reach any specific deposit thickness.
The evolution algorithm and simulation tools developed in the past years by the authors was applied to predict the modified geometry of eroded rotor blades. Here the same framework is updated to simulate the deposit problem. We use an integrated multiphase solver, coupled with a geometry update method. The solver can iteratively simulate the flow field, compute the particle tracking, dispersion and deposit processes, and modify the geometry (and mesh) according to the predicted deposit shape and rate.