Unstable S-shaped characteristics of a pump-turbine unit in a lab-scale model

Jun Won Suh, Hyeon Mo Yang, Jin Hyuk Kim, Won Gu Joo, Jungwan Park, Young Seok Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Unusual flow characteristics such as reverse flow, rotating stalls, flow recirculation, and stationary vortexes can induce high dynamic forces and torque variations on the entire system, creating a positive slope in the discharge-head curve. To avoid these problems, the present study investigates the hydrodynamic characteristics of a lab-scale model of a Francis type pump-turbine unit in the transition region. To verify the simulation, its results were compared with those of a laboratory-scale experiment performed over various operating ranges. The differences between the experimental and numerical speed, discharge, and torque factors were compared. The numerical analysis was well-matched the experimental tendencies in the overall operating and transition regions. The reliability of the simulations was within 4%. The unsteady RANS equations in the SAS–SST model were discretized for a detailed analysis of the pressure and internal flow characteristics. Under the runaway condition and low-discharge conditions, the frequency spectra of the pressure fluctuations were remarkable at low-frequency related to the rotating stall and blade passing frequency. These results represent a rotating stall with a frequency propagation of approximately 60% of the rotational speed of the runner. In case of the internal flow field, some blade loading distributions developed a positive shape while others developed a negative shape under the runaway condition. Although a rotating stall formed under the low-discharge condition, the form under this condition differed from that developed under runaway conditions, owing to backflow and the single stall cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1417
Number of pages23
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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