A novel control technique for radial turbines is under investigation for providing turbine performance controllability, especially in turbocharger applications. This technique is based on replacing the traditional spiral casing with a Multi-channel Casing (MC). The MC divides the turbine rotor inlet circumferentially into a certain number of channels. Opening and closing these channels controls the inlet area and, consequently, the turbine performance. The MC can be distinguished from other available control techniques in that it contains no movable parts or complicated control mechanisms. Within the casing, this difference makes it practical for a broader range of applications. In this investigation, a turbocharger featuring a turbine with MC has been tested on a hot gas test stand. The experimental test results show a reduction in the turbine operating efficiency when switching from full to partial admission. This reduction increases when reducing the admission percentage.
To ensure the best performance of the turbine featuring MC while operating at different admission configurations, it becomes crucial to investigate its internal flow field at both full and partial admission to understand the reasons for this performance reduction. A full 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of the turbine was created for this investigation. It focuses on identifying the loss mechanisms associated with partial admission. Steady and unsteady simulations were performed and validated with available test data. The simulation results show that operating the turbine at partial admission results in highly disturbed flow. It also detects the places where aerodynamic losses occur and which are responsible for this performance reduction. This operation also shows flow unsteadiness even when operating at steady conditions. This unsteadiness depends mainly on the admission configuration and percentage.