We meet thermal turbomachinery and their products everywhere in our daily lives. In our cars they put additional thrust to the engines, they drive planes and helicopters, ships, tanks, and they operate in electric power stations 24 hours a day, nearly 365 days a year, converting thermal energy from a combustion process to mechanical energy driving an electric generator.
Thermal turbomachinery include compressors, gas and steam turbines, turbo chargers and aero engines. They have a wide range of application and, as you can imagine, there are lots of them. With regard to the environmental pollution, increasing energy consumption and decreasing resources it is necessary to raise efficiency and minimize fuel consumption of thermal turbomachinery. Furthermore, operating costs are an important factor so that fuel consumption has to be reduced. For example, the turnover of an airline is about 1-2 % of the fuel costs. To raise efficiencies, a better understanding of the flow through turbomachinery is necessary. That is where we come in…
With our know-how in flow measurements, especially in optical measurements like LDV, stereoscopic PIV, thermography, and flow simulation, we provide the data and knowledge to improve thermal turbomachinery. In many EU- projects with several partners from the industry (MTU Aero Engines, Rolls Royce Germany, DLR, Snecma, Onera Turbomeca, Avio, GE and many more) we have proven our competence in this area.
In the last years we have mainly concentrated on the flow in transonic turbines, but since 2004 we have expanded our research areas. To reduce environmental pollution, fuel consumption and weight of aero engines new combustion concepts and the problems they bring (such as humming) have to be investigated. Hence we have built a combustion test facility.
Besides our investigation and optimization of turbomachinery components, we also work on the thermodynamic cycle. To decrease carbon dioxide production we have created the Graz Cycle, which is a zero emission power plant cycle with highest efficiencies (patented).
Furthermore we develop our own CFD code for flow simulation. The newest models for turbulence and transition are used in this code and it includes our own improvements.
And last but not least, one of core capabilities is machine dynamics with our experience in vibration measurements using laser vibrometer on tail rotor shafts, heat recovery boilers, and many other applications.