The ultimate goal of an advanced turbocharger development is to have a superior aerodynamic performance while having the turbocharger survive various real world customer applications. Due to the uncertainty of customer usage and driving pattern, the fatigue life prediction is considered one of the most ambiguous analyses in the entire design and analyses processes of the turbocharger. The turbocharger system may have various resonant frequencies, which may be within the range of turbocharger operation for automotive applications. A turbocharger may operate with excessive stresses when running near resonant frequencies. The turbocharger may experience fatigue failures if the accumulative cycles of the turbocharger running across the resonant frequencies exceeds a certain limit.

In this study, the authors propose an alternative approach to mitigate this kind of fatigue issues: i.e. engine system approach to improve turbocharger fatigue life via avoiding operating the turbocharger near resonant speeds for extended period of time. A preliminary numerical study was made and presented in this paper to assess the feasibility of such an engine system approach, which is followed by an engine dynamometer test for engine performance sensitivity evaluation when the turbocharger operation condition was adjusted to improve the high cycle fatigue life. The study shows that for a modern diesel engine equipped with electrically controlled variable geometry turbine and EGR for emission control, through the engine calibration and control upgrade, turbocharger operation speed can be altered to stay away from certain critical speeds if necessary.

The combined 1D and 3D numerical simulation shows the bandwidth of the turbine “risk zone” near one of the resonant speeds and the potential impact on engine performances if the turbocharger speed has to be shifted out of the “risk zone.”

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