Design, Simulation of Fluid Flow and Optimization of Operational Parameters in Tesla Multiple-Disk Turbine

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Addis Ababa University


Tesla turbine, an unconventional co-axial multiple-disk turbine utilizing a blend of friction and boundary layer effect for power production, has been a topic of many academic and experimental works for a century. Decades after its first patent in 1913 by Serbian genius -Nikola Tesla, the turbine has seen subject of many fluid investigators that sought to explain mainly the fluid dynamics behind the flow between its narrow inter-disk spaces for purpose of maximizing utility for practical applications. Among the available literature, there is a plethora of research in analytical and experimental spheres while on the other hand, there are limited published works regarding numerical investigation of the turbine. Between the different numerical genera, negligibly no numerical work has been performed in studying the turbulent regime of flow. In the current work, a background discussion introducing the Tesla turbine theory, merits, demerits and previously done works is presented. A modified two-dimensional Cuoto etal. turbine design procedure is used to construct 2D and 3D geometrical models for CFD analysis. Two principal models have been prepared, each of which having their inherent strengths and weaknesses. The effect of certain operational parameters such as rotor angular speed and flow on selected performance figure of merits has been quantitatively analyzed. By keeping flow input variables, the number of nozzles has been varied as an added geometrical design parameter to see performance disparity between different combinations. The results revealed peculiar flow characteristics belonging to the disk gaps and the strong variances of the selected figures of merits with controlling parameters. In some cases, operational limitation thresholds were established due to the strong correlations of these performance variables with turbine output quantities.



Thermal Engineering Stream