As governments around the world ramp up their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, downsizing internal combustion engines has become a dominant trend in the automotive industry. Air charging systems are being utilised to increase power density and therefore lower emissions by downsizing internal combustion engines. Turbocharging represents the majority of these air charging systems, which are commonly adopted for commercial and passenger vehicles. The process of matching turbomachinery to an engine during early-stage development is important to achieving maximum engine performance in terms of power output and the reduction of emissions.
Despite on-engine conditions providing highly unsteady gas flows, current turbocharger development commonly uses performance maps that are produced from steady state measurements. There are other significant sources of error to be found in early stage turbocharger performance prediction, such as the omission of heat transfer effects, and the use of data extrapolation methods to cover the entire operating range of a device from limited data sets. Realistic engine conditions provide a complex heat transfer scenario, which is dependent upon load history and the component layout of the engine bay. Heat transfer effects are particularly prevalent at low engine loads, whilst pulsating effects are significant at both high and low engine speeds (and therefore exhaust pulse frequency). Compressor maps are often provided by manufacturers with a level of heat transfer corresponding to a gas stand test, not realistic engine conditions. This causes a mismatch when using the aforementioned maps in commercial engine codes. This reduces the quality of overall engine performance predictions, since as the temperature of the exhaust gas on the turbine side rises, the performance prediction increasingly deviates from the usual adiabatic assumption used in simulations.
In the present work, a one-dimensional unsteady flow model has been developed to predict the performance of a vaneless turbine under pulsating inlet conditions, with scope to account for heat transfer effects. Flow within the volute is considered to be one-dimensional and unsteady, with mass addition and withdrawal used to simulate the gas flow between the volute and rotor. Rotor passages are also treated as one-dimensional and unsteady, with the equations being solved by the method of characteristics. This model is able to simulate the circumferential feeding of the rotor from the casing, unlike many previous zero and one-dimensional models. Building upon previous work, the basis of this code has been constructed in C++ with future integration with other modern gas dynamics codes in mind. By providing the appropriate instantaneous operating conditions at specified time intervals, a code such as this could theoretically negate the need for maps produced by steady-state data.