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THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS

345 E. 47 St., New York, N.Y. 10017 85-GT-123


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Released for general publication upon presentation. Full credit should be given to ASME,
the Technical Division, and the author(s). Papers are available from ASME for nine months
after the meeting.
Printed in USA. Copyright 1985 by ASME

Axial Flow Automotive Turbocharger


C. J. RAHNKE
Research Staff
Ford Motor Company
Dearborn, Michigan

ABSTRACT Turbocharger lag can be minimized by reducing


temperature and pressure losses between the engine
Turbocharger "lag" or poor response to engine and turbocharger and by selecting the optimum com-
load changes can be improved by reducing the rotat- pressor trim and turbine flow capacity (1). Even
ing inertia of the turbocharger turbine, compressor in an optimized system, turbo lag may still be
and shaft system. Recently designed, second genera- considered objectionable, so many different tech-
tion turbochargers all have small diameter, light niques are under development worldwide to reduce
weight rotating assemblies in an effort to minimize it. These techniques include auxiliary turbo-
inertia and improve response. An automotive turbo- charger acceleration devices, variaule geometry
charger with an axial flow turbine rather than a and reduction of rotor inertia.
conventional radial inflow turbine is presented
here as an alternative method of reducing inertia. Auxiliary acceleration devices include those
The rotating inertia of the axial flow turbine and using a high pressure fluid to drive a hydraulic
a centrifugal compressor is about one half that of turbine to supply additional air (2) or additional
the same compressor combined with a radial inflow power to the turbocharger shaft (3) during accel-
turbine. In steady-state engine dynamometer tests, erations. The use of lower power loss journal
the same wide-open throttle performance was ob- bearings (4) or ball bearings (5) will also improve
tained with both turbochargers. Engine dynamometer transient response.
transient tests showed that the turbocharger with
the axial flow turbine attained full boost 25-40% The purpose in using variable-geometry turbo-
faster than did the turbocharger with the radial chargers is to more closely match the flow char-
inflow turbine. acteristics of the turbine and piston engine. Con-
ventional turbochargers having turbines with small
flow capacities allow the turbocharger to obtain
INTRODUCTION full boost at lower engine speeds, but will over-
boost or damage the engine at high engine speeds.
One of the most objectionable drawbacks asso- A wastegate device is required to bypass flow
ciated with a turbocharged passenger car is the around the turbine at high engine speeds and
poor initial response of the turbocharger when the thereby limit turbocharger speed and boost. This
driver wishes to accelerate the vehicle. This results in high engine back-pressure losses at
"Turbo Lag" is due to the fact that the turbo- high engine speeds. The ideal variable geometry
charger rotor must be accelerated to fairly high device would reduce the turbine flow capacity at
rotational speeds before it develops enough pressure low engine speeds to increase boost and accelera-
rise or "boost" to have any appreciable improvement tion, then increase the flow capacity at high
over the naturally-aspirated performance of the engine speeds to prevent overboost without ex-
engine. The lag is most severe at low engine speeds cessive engine back pressure losses. Variable
where the exhaust energy is insufficient to operate turbine nozzle vanes (5,6,7,8,9,10) movable
the turbocharger at high speeds. Once the turbo- turbine volute tongues or sidewalls (10,11,12)
charger has been accelerated to its full potential compressor-to-turbine bleed (13), and variable
at high engine speeds, it will develop 25-50% more geometry compressors (14) are all under considera-
power than the naturally-aspirated engine. tion.

Presented at the Gas Turbine Conference and Exhibit


Houston, Texas March 18 - 21, 1985

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INLET TO ROTOR

./A
EXIT FROM ROTOR


HUB MEAN TIP

VELOCITY TRIANGLE INFORMATION


RADIUS/TIP RADIUS .560 .712 .985
AXIAL FLOW TURBINE RADIAL FLOW TURBINE
Inlet to Rotor
FIG. 1 AXIAL AND RADIAL FLOW TURBINES Abs. Mach No. .636 .460 .417
Rel. Mach No. .420 .194 .173
Abs. Angle 76.2 71.0 66.6
Rel. Angle 68.8 39.4 -17.3
Exit to Rotor
Abs. Mach No. .182 .180 .178
Rel. Mach No. .317 .385 .451
Abs. Angle 11.5 8.3 6.6
Rel. Angle 55.8 62.5 66.9

FIG 3 VELOCITY TRIANGLES

DIRECTION OF ROTATION

b
TiP

MEAN <rt:INLET

ArP
FIG. 2 RADIAL AND AXIAL TURBINE ROTORS
HUB

A reduction in the turbocharger rotating inertia


will result in a significant improvement in the tran-
AXIS OF ROTATION
sient response of the turbocharger. One approach is
to reduce the inertia by improved aerodynamic design
which reduces the number of blades without reducing
turbine efficiency (15). Another approach utilizes SECTION HUB MEAN TIP
a lower inertia mixed-flow turbine rather than a Radius/Tip Radius .64 .82 1.00
radial flow turbine (16). The use of a lower density Pitch/Chord .93 1.20 1.36
ceramic to replace the metal turbine rotor will also
Max. Thick./Chord .18 .10 .5
significantly reduce inertia (17,18,19,20).
T.E. Dia./Chord .03 .03 .03

Another method of reducing inertia is the use L.E. Dia./Chord .10 .06 .03

of an axial flow turbine rotor rather than the Chord (Inches) .35 .34 .37
heavier radial inflow turbine rotor in production
today. This report describes the design, rig tests FIG. 4 BLADE SECTIONS
as well as the dynamometer transient and steady-
state testing of an axial flow turbocharger.
DISCUSSION to obtain the same 6 psig (41.4 kPa) boost at the
same 3000 r.p.m. engine speed as the radial flow
DESIGN turbine, and both turbines would utilize a waste-
gate to limit boost at the higher engine speeds.
As part of an investigation on turbocharger A comparison of the meridonal flow path of the two
lag, an axial-flow turbine was designed to replace turbines is shown in Figure 1. Both turbines used an
a radial-flow turbine in a turobcharger matched for inlet volute or scroll rather than nozzle vanes to
use on a 2.3L engine. Both turbines were to operate generate the angular momentum energy needed at inlet
with the same centrifugal compressor and the same to the turbine rotor. The axial flow turbine has
bearing system. The axial flow turbine was designed
about the same tip diameter as the radial turbine.

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24
22
20
18
16
o 14
12
2 10
8
w 6
U 4
U
2
0
I.0

FIG. 6 TURBINE FLOW CHARACTERISTICS

FIG. 5 ROTOR AND HOUSING ASSEMBLIES .011 to .013 inches (0.28 to 0.33 mm) in keeping
with conventional turbocharger practice for radial
TABLE 1 INERTIA AND WEIGHT COMPARISON flow turbines of this size. Hot running tip clear-
ance was estimated at 3.5% of the blade span and
Inertia Weight using information from (22), the tip clearance loss
2
Rotating Assembly Contains Ft-Lb-Sec Lbs. would result in a 6% reduction in turbine efficiency.
At 6000 engine rpm the turbo speed will increase to
Metallic Radial Turbine 132 x 10 -7 .37 150,000 rpm and a finite element analysis showed the
disc stresses at this speed to be about 27,000 psi
Ceramic Radial Turbine 69 x 10 -7 .22 (187,000 kPa). Peak blade stresses at the blade
root would be about 30,000 psi (230,000 kPa) at
Metallic Axial Turbine 68 x 10 -7 .27 this condition. Less than the aerodynamically
optimum number of blades were selected for this
Ceramic Axial Turbine 49 x 10 -7 .18 design for the following reasons:

1. A lesser number of blades will reduce


A photograph of the two turbine rotors is shown in inertia.
Figure 2.
2. The blades, disc and shaft can be hot
Since the radial flow turbine was an existing, forged from a single billet with a
commercially available, second generation turbo- simple two piece die without the need
charger rotor, no attempt will be made to here for any retractable inserts. Thus
describe its design. Its geometry, which evolved flexibility exists for casting, forging
over years of operating experience, reflects the or hot pressing the rotor.
best compromise in efficiency, inertia, flow
capacity, manufacturing cost and durability. An The complete turbocharger stationary and ro-
attempt was made to include similar considerations tating structures are shown in Figure 5. The
in the design of the axial flow turbine. stationary structure consists of three pieces,
the compressor scroll, the bearing housing, and
The velocity triangles for the axial turbine the turbine volute. The turbine volute was de-
at the turbocharger match point are shown in Figure signed from vortex flow principals with an allow-
3. At this condition which corresponds to 6 psig ance for frictional effects. There were no
(41.4 kPa) boost at 3000 r.p.m. in a 2.3L engine, nozzle vanes. A rectangular flow passage was used
the turbocharger would be operating at about in the turbine volute to simplify its fabrication
110,000 r.p.m. The design of the turbine was based even though this represented a 1% loss in turbine
on free vortex flow out of the volute, uniform energy efficiency when compared to a circular volute (23).
extraction along the blade span, and as low a Mach The rotating assembly with turbine, compressor and
number and swirl at the exit to the rotor as possible. the bearing thrust collars can also be seen in
The latter two requirements were an attempt to main- Figure 5. Both full floating and pinned-floating
tain the dynamic head leaving the rotor at a minimum journal bearings were investigated.
in an effort to keep the inlet-total to exit-static
efficiency as high as possible. Blade row losses A comparison of the calculated weight and polar
were estimated from the data presented in (21). moment of inertia for a radial flow and axial flow
Rotor exit hub-tip ratio was 0.52 resulting in turbocharger rotor assembly is shown in Table 1.
negative reaction at the hub. The tip diameter was Both have the same compressor and shaft geometry.
1.786 inches (45.5 mm). For completeness the weight and inertia of ceramic
rotors madg from silicon nitride with a density of
The hub, mean and tip rotor blade section along .098 lb/in (2.7 gm/cc) and having the same com-
with the more important section parameters are shown pressor and metallic shaft are also presented. The
in Figure 4. The mean radius maximum thickness-to- table shows:
chord ratio was set at 0.10 to minimize blade section
areas. The trailing edge thickness was set at 0.010 1. A metal turbocharger rotating assembly
inches (0.25 mm) and the tip clearance was set at with an axial flow turbine will have

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I-- 100 160


LL.1
(.3 90
18-1_ 80
8 88
0
LEGEND
(--) 70 " RAD IA L
60 "TURBINE
8 AXIAL
50 TURBINE
0
I-
80 1111
_1 40
30
W1.. 2.0 1 F 1 1
_
Z 4
CO CC
1.5 *

Zvi
cn
cr 1.0 40? 1 1
.2 .4 .6 .8 1.0 a.

ISENTROPIC VELOCITY RATIO


15 18 1
MEAN DIA. BLADE SPEED I 0
e
EQUALS.1290 X ISENTROPIC ENTHALPY CHANGE 0
5
FIG. 7 TURBINE EFFICIENCY CHARACTERISTICS
0 8

about half the polar inertia of an


assembly with a metal radial flow 2500 1 I 1
turbine.
1
4. 2000 88.98 -
2. A metal axial flow turbine assembly I-
will have the same inertia as an
assembly with a ceramic radial flow - 1500 8
ai
turbine. CC
I 1 I I
1000
BENCH TEST
20 II
The turbocharger assembly was first evaluated
t
03 KL
0
under steady-state conditions on a bench test
15
before it was installed on an engine for dynamometer 0 1 (().
/ 51 , 0
cr
( -

test. Heated air from an external source was


a.
(.0- pg 0KL1
KL .
supplied to the turbine in this bench test, while 10
the turbocharger compressor and bearings provided 0 I 2 3 4 5
the load. Limited flexibility in this load could
ENGINE SPEED RPM/I000
be obtained by throttling the compressor inlet and
-

outlet. Instrumentation included speed, compressor FIG. 8 STEADY-STATE DYNAMOMETER TEST RESULTS
airflow, compressor inlet and outlet pressures and
temperatures, turbine airflow and turbine inlet ratio of 0.5 and falls off on either side of this
and outlet pressures and temperatures.
value. The turbine operates at low velocity ratios
at low engine speeds and usually reaches the design
The flow characteristics of the axial flow
value at the speed where the wastegate opens. The
turbine are shown in Figure 6, along with the flow
scatter in the test data reflects the fact that the
characteristics of the equivalent radial flow tur-
bench test did not employ a high-speed dynamometer,
bine. Turbine flow is a function of not only
so the efficiency was calculated from the power
pressure ratio, as shown here, but also of cor-
rected turbine speed. The test facility was limited, absorbed by the compressor and bearings. Extensive
use of insulation and extremely low turbine inlet
however, so only a small range of each flow charac-
teristic could be obtained at each speed. This data temperatures were used during efficiency measure-
has been condensed in Figure 6 to show only one flow ments to minimize heat conduction errors. Measure-
characteristic, which represents the compressor- ment under normal conditions would have resulted in
turbine match point, for each corrected speed. The a higher, erroneous efficiency because of these
errors. Different compressors were used as loading
flow data shown here was obtained from the axial
devices to extend the range of test data. The peak
turbine rotor and one of several volutes evaluated
axial turbine efficiency of about 75% was similar to
in the bench test program. This combination most
the peak efficiency measured on the baseline radial
closely matched the flow characteristics of the
radial flow turbine. turbine. It is also about equal to peak efficiency
data for turbocharger radial turbines as presented
in the literature (15,16,24,25).
Figure 7 shows the total-to-static axial turbine
efficiency as measured on the bench test plotted It should be emphasized that competitive effi-
against isentropic velocity ratio. The peak effi- ciencies in the axial turbines can only be obtained
ciency occurs near the design isentropic velocity at moderate levels of pressure ratio or boost. At

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50 50
40 40
30 30
20 20
10 I0
0 0

0 0
0 125
c) 0 125
2 100
T
2 I00
SPEED
a ra_
2 75 RADIAL TURBINE 75
50 VAXIAL TURBINE RADIAL TURBINE
50
cl- AXIAL TURBINE
25 SPEED
op 25
0 0
co 0 0
cc cr
0 1 2 0 I 2
ELAPSED TIME SECONDS ELAPSED TIMESECONDS
FIG. 9 TRANSIENT TEST RESULTS AT 1500 RPM FIG. 11 TRANSIENT TEST RESULTS AT 2500 RPM

50 50
40 40
30 MANIFOLD 30
ABSOLUTE
20 PRESSURE 20
10 10
0 0

0 0
0 125
0 0 125
100 .1. 100
a_
cc cc 75
75
LA 50 LU 50
U
a-
m 25 cn 25
0 0
co
0 cc 0
I 2 0 I 2
ELAPSED TIMESECONDS ELAPSED TIMESECONDS
FIG. 10 TRANSIENT TEST RESULTS AT 2000 RPM FIG. 12 TRANSIENT TEST RESULTS AT 3000 RPM

high pressure ratios the efficiency of the axial octane aircraft gasoline engines or heavy-duty truck
turbine will start to deteriorate because of ex- diesel engines, higher levels of boost are employed
cessively high aerodynamic stage loadings. A so a radial flow turbine must be used in these appli-
prohibitively expensive multi-stage axial turbine cations.
would be required to obtain good efficiency at
high pressure ratios. The axial turbine, therefore, DYNAMOMETER TEST
could only be utilized in automotive spark ignition
engines where fuel octane or detonation limitations Following the philosophy of keeping as many of
will restrict boost to moderate values. In high the turbocharger components as possible identically

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6 50
1
U)
MN AXIAL ROTOR z
RADIAL ROTOR I a_ 40 FORD-AXIAL
6 5 z
w Lai j
\FLOW
U) cc TURBINE
LiJ z 30 SILICON
a. NITRIDE
ROTOR 46, SILICON
z (Ref. A 001,CARBIDE
Lij
\ ROTOR
22 20
(Ret18)
zw
20
cc
IMROVED
2 10 AERO
DESIGN
(Ref. 15)
1
0
0

20 40
I
60 80
1
100

PERCENT OF BASELINE INERTIA


FIG. 14 COMPARISON OF TRANSIENT TEST DATA

0 engine speed and manifold absolute pressure. Tran-


1500 2000 2500 3000
sient data were recorded with a Honeywell fibre-
ENGINE RPM optic CRT recorder.
FIG. 13 SUMMARY OF TRANSIENT TESTS The comparative transient performance between
the radial flow turbine and the axial flow at 1500,
the same to improve the axial-flow vs. radial flow 2000, 2500 and 3000 rpm is shown in Figures 9 to 12.
turbine comparison, two turbocharger assemblies were The initial steep rise in manifold pressure occurs
engine tested. They utilized the same compressor, as the throttle plate is opened. Further increases
bearing system, and face seal so that only the tur- occur as the turbocharger speed increases. The
bine rotors were different. axial turbine clearly increases both turbocharger
speed and boost at a faster rate than does the
The wide-open throttle, steady-state, knock radial turbine. This is true even though the axial
limited test results are shown in Figure 8 for both turbine was deliberately handicapped in these tests
turbochargers up to 3500 rpm. A 1979 production, by starting out at a lower manifold absolute pressure
turbocharged 2.3L Ford engine with special inlet and a lower turbocharger speed. This was done to
and exhaust manifolds and an experimental head was assure that the axial turbine did not have a "head
used in these tests. The automatic spark and fuel start" or other performance advantage.
injection system and their electronic control were
developed for dynamometer engine evaluations. A The transient test results are summarized in
throttle plate was located downstream of the com- Figure 13 where the "time-to-maximum rotor speed"
pressor discharge, and a back pressure valve was is compared for the axial and radial flow turbo-
used to simulate a vehicle exhaust system. The chargers. The axial turbocharger acceleration
radial turbine wastegate was integral with the times are 25 to 40% faster than the radial flow
turbine volute casting. The wastegate used with turbine.
the axial turbocharger was a RAJAY INDUSTRIES, INC.
Model No. 225-112B unit with an adjustable relief COMPARISON WITH OTHER TESTS
pressure control. Within the accuracy of the
instrumentation and measurements the turbochargers The effect of reduced rotor inertia has been
exhibit identical performance. These results investigated by others. A comparison of the
suggest that both turbines have equal flow and results of three other investigations is shown in
efficiency characteristics. Figure 14. The results are compared using the
non-dimensional relationships, percent of baseline
Transient tests were run by holding the dyna- inertia vs. percent improvement in response, since
mometer speed constant and opening the throttle different turbochargers and different test pro-
from 12 inches (305 mm) Hg manifold absolute cedures were used in these tests. The following
pressure to wide open in 1/4 second at a pre- is a brief review of these data:
determined rate using an electronically-controlled
actuator. While this does not duplicate the . FORD AXIAL TURBOCHARGER: As described earlier
vehicle transient, it is believed that it will in this paper, these data are based on engine
show the relative difference in response between dynamometer tests where the axial turbocharger
two turbocharger systems. Automatic spark and is compared to the radial turbocharger at 1500,
automatic fuel flow were used during these tran- 2000, 2500, and 3000 rpm engine speeds.
sients. The spark was retarded twice as a function

of manifold absolute pressure; 6 at 32 inches . FORD CERAMIC TURBOCHARGER: The ceramic radial
flow turbine is a reaction-bonded silicon nitride
(813 mm) Hg and 3 more at 38 inches (965 mm) Hg.
Fuel flow was programmed to increase linearily with rotor fabricated by FORD and operating in a
Warner-Ishe RH06 turbocharger. On engine

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dynamometer test the ceramic rotor showed 25 75% - REFERENCES
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mometer test demonstrated the same steady- No. C36, 1982.
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16. H. Yamaguchi, T. Nishiyama, K. Horiai, and
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22. J. E. Haas and M. G. Kofaskey, "Effect of


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23. M.C.S. Barnard and R. S. Benson, "Radial


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24. H. Hoyashi, Y. Okazaki, H. Tsujimura,


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25. D. L. Antcliffe and W. K. Bruffell, "H3


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