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German Researchers Use Tecplot Software to Help Design Cleaner Gas Turbine Engines

Increased fuel efficiency and reduction in pollutants desired outcomes of project.

BELLEVUE, Wash. (February 24, 2016) – Tecplot, Inc., developer of the leading CFD visualization and analysis software for engineers and scientists, today announced that researchers at the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Aerospace Thermodynamics are using Tecplot 360 to help design cleaner gas turbine engines.

Working under a grant from the German Research Foundation and the Research Association for Combustion Engines, the researchers specifically are working to improve modern aircraft engines by changing the geometry of turbine blade endwalls, the region between two adjacent turbine blades.

The end-users of the research findings — companies that manufacture gas turbine engines — hope to incorporate the results into their engine development process. The goal is to make gas turbines more fuel-efficient and help reduce pollutants. If this is achieved, the researchers will aid engine-manufacturers in building cleaner and more efficient gas turbines, which in turn will help the engine-users save money by reducing fuel consumption.

Airflow around turbine blades and their endwalls

Tecplot 360 is used to visualize airflow around turbine blades and their endwalls.

To accomplish their goals, the Institute of Aerospace Thermodynamics researchers are using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate airflow in gas turbines and then analyzing heat transfer to the turbine blades and their endwalls. In gas turbines, fuel is burned in a combustion chamber and the hot exhaust gases flow through the turbine rotor to produce power output. Since the exhaust gases are very hot, parts of the turbine rotor also become very hot and need to be cooled so they don’t melt. How hot these parts become depends not only on the temperature of the exhaust gases, but also on how the air flows around these parts.

“We look at how the geometry of the part should be so that the air flows around it in a ‘favorable’ way and the part becomes less hot,” said Sven Winkler, one of about 15 research associates working on the project. “For our research, the part being studied is called the endwall, which is simply the region between two adjacent turbine blades.”

Tecplot 360 Used as CFD Post-Processor

To find the most beneficial endwall geometry, Winkler and his associates analyze many different possible geometries by conducting CFD simulations of gas flow around the endwall and determining the heat-transfer from the flow to the endwall. The results of these CFD simulations are post-processed with Tecplot 360.

“With Tecplot, we visualized how the flow looks using streamlines and vortex visualization, and what the temperature distribution on the endwall looks like due to this flow,” Winkler said. “In this vein we could find an optimum geometry – one that has a favorable flow around it and causes the lowest possible temperature of the part.” A part at a lower temperature needs less cooling air to protect it. Needing less cooling air improves the efficiency of the gas turbine. This will result in gas turbines that are more fuel-efficient and help to reduce pollutants, which are the ultimate goals of the project.

About Tecplot 360

First released in 2014, Tecplot 360 is the most memory-efficient CFD post-processor available for desktop computers, requiring 92% less memory than earlier versions when loading modern high-fidelity CFD solutions.

With Tecplot 360, CFD engineers are now able to load and analyze data once reserved for only the largest high-performance computing centers. The software’s industry-leading speed – both computational and rendering — is achieved through Tecplot’s proprietary SZL technology, which is a combination of deferred data loading, exhaustive parallelization, and many other code optimizations.

About Tecplot, Inc.

Founded in 1981 by former Boeing engineers Don Roberts and Mike Peery, who today serve as CEO and chairman of the board, respectively, Tecplot is the leading developer of CFD visualization and analysis software for engineers and scientists. Tecplot’s products allow customers using desktop computers and laptops to quickly analyze and understand information hidden in complex data, and communicate their results to others via brilliant images and compelling animations. The privately held company’s products are used by more than 47,000 technical professionals around the world.

Tecplot has been awarded numerous Small Business Innovation Research contracts from DOD, NASA, DARPA, and the National Science Foundation. In 2012, the company was named a Red Herring Top 100 Americas Award winner.

Since its founding more than 30 years ago, Tecplot has consistently delivered category-leading innovation to the engineering and scientific communities. Examples of this never-ending innovation include Tecplot 360 for lightning-fast analysis of massive CFD simulation data, Tecplot RS for oil & gas reservoir simulation, and Tecplot Chorus for analyzing multiple simulations of design-space exploration data.