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Topology optimization to design labyrinth seals considering turbulent flow and fluid-structure interaction with binary variables

Grant number: 21/02340-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): January 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - Mechanical Engineering Design
Principal researcher:Emílio Carlos Nelli Silva
Grantee:Eduardo Moscatelli de Souza
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50279-4 - Brasil Research Centre for Gas Innovation, AP.PCPE


This work is inserted in the project "Design of smart labyrinth seals to reduce GHG emissions in pneumatic machines (compressors and turbines)" which is developed by the Research Centre for Gas Innovation (RCGI) in FAPESP project number 2014/50279-4. Labyrinth seals are mechanical devices used for sealing turbo machinery equipment in applications such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) compressors. Therefore, the optimization of labyrinth seals is crucial for controlling the temperature increase of the atmosphere, because CH4 and CO2 are greenhouse gases. In this context, the objective of this work is to develop topology optimization formulations by considering turbulent flows and fluid-structure interaction (FSI) with binary variables and to apply these formulations mainly to the design of efficient labyrinth seals. Other problems such as the design of pumps and fluidic diodes will also be explored to demonstrate the scientific and technological importance of the developed formulations. In order to obtain smart labyrinth seals, the idea is to combine the concepts of labyrinth seals with inflatable seals which are seals that deform when pressurized and adjust the clearance between the assembled parts. To this end, the solid model considers large solid deformations to represent the seal movement and the fluid model considers turbulence because turbulent dissipation plays an important role in labyrinth seals. As large deformations are considered, a monolithic fluid-structure interaction solver is required and the optimization is performed on solid and fluid domains in a dry+wet approach. The Topology Optimization of Binary Structures (TOBS) is employed because it works with binary design variables and enables a clear definition of the interface between the fluid and the solid. The Finite Element Method (FEM) is used for solving the equilibrium equations. The sensitivity analysis is carried with automatic differentiation. The optimization problem is solved with the CPLEX optimizer. The expected contributions of this work are new topology optimization formulations by considering turbulent flow, FSI, and large deformations that can be applied to labyrinth seals design. The desired result is to enhance the performance of labyrinth seals applied to turbo machinery in order to reduce GHG emissions. (AU)

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