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Control Systems of Turbomachinery?

  1. Feb 20, 2016 #1
    I'm a sophomore of Mechanical Engineering, but I do like delving into more advanced subjects that I haven't seen in undergrad yet, and among those are fluid dynamics. I've made a little bit of research into turbomachinery (while looking for some classes that could interest me hereafter) and found it really interesting.
    I like Control Systems, also, things like PID and PLC, and I wonder if there is (or could be) any connection between those two subjects. Would Control Systems of Turbomachinery be a field of work? I mean, something integrating both areas and requiring knowledge of both?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2016 #2


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    Yes, of course.



    https://powergen.gepower.com/conten...ronic-mark-v-steam-turbine-control-system.pdf (early 1990s - about 20-25 years ago).

    https://powergen.gepower.com/software-and-analytics/controls.html (now there is Mark VI)

    The turbine-generator control system is automatic and is connected with the plant monitoring system.
  4. Feb 21, 2016 #3
    Thank you! This could be the subject of a final year project, couldn't it?

    Important classes to learn all this would be fluid dynamics, thermodynamics and controls (digital controls, dynamic control)? Something more?
  5. Feb 21, 2016 #4
    Yes, it could, but don't take on more than you bargained for. I've seen home built turbomachinery, but it's not trivial. It can cost a lot of money to do it right, and it can be dangerous as well.

    I suggest studying the basics, such as PID controls, and pay special attention to tuning methods. Yes, you should take all the courses in fluids and thermodynamics that you can find. A review of instrumentation methods, if such courses are available, is also important.

    Your senior design project could be done with safer designs such as a small centrifugal water pump. With modern 3D printing systems, you should be able to construct some interesting impeller shapes and characterize them. Such designs use much of the same concepts as you would find in a gas turbine, but with fewer consequences if it goes badly (at least on a small scale).

    Again, I think you should aim for something you KNOW you can achieve. A successful, sensible project looks a lot better to me than an ambitious project that failed.
  6. Feb 21, 2016 #5
    I think the project would be valid, and sounds interesting, but I also see it as a VERY EXPENSIVE project.

    I have been working on a project with a couple other people to use the Holset HE351VGT turbocharger on other types of engines, which means we had to design our own control unit. I have one on my truck, and it is controlled by an Arduino over CAN bus.. it works pretty good. Every person who runs this turbo customizes the code a little bit, I went further than that and wrote my own from the ground up, yes, there's PID loops, position tables, and all sorts of stuff to get it to do what I need it to. I ws able to get 40 PSI of manifold boost pressure at only 1500 RPM, and I picked up fuel economy at cruising speeds as well. It's been a learning experience for sure :)
  7. Feb 21, 2016 #6


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    There are several universities where you can study turbomachinery design as a specialist subject .
  8. Feb 21, 2016 #7
    Thanks for the advise. Another ideia: maybe this could be material for a bachelor's thesis? If I remember correctly, I've already saw a master's thesis concerning efficient control for turbines in a wind farm.
    That sounds great! I have little knowledege into automobile engineering, but that really looks cool. So you did write the entire Arduino code on your own, is that right? Looks like a rewarding experience: controls, thermodynamics, fluids...

    I'm not sure about what "specialist subject" is. Forgive me for my ignorance, but I'm not from the US, so things are probably different. Does that mean that you study controls, thermo and fluids just into one course, focusing on turbomachinery?
  9. Feb 21, 2016 #8


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  10. Feb 21, 2016 #9


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    Cranfield is in the UK but there are similar institutions in USA and elsewhere .
  11. Feb 21, 2016 #10
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