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Title: Technology or methodology? : an approach to designing better turbomachinery
Author: Jarrett, J. P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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The aim of this work is to design better turbomachinery. For the half-century following the Second World War, technology has been seen as the key to achieving this aim. In the same period, the "goodness" of a design was primarily determined by its performance. However, the performance gains from successive technology advances are now levelling off, the law of diminishing returns being felt. This, combined with increasing cost pressures, has resulted in a paradigm shift away from a purely performance optimum towards a commercial optimum. It is shown that accelerating the design process improves the commercial optimum by enabling a higher performance product to be designed in less time without recourse to further technological advance. Thus, whether better turbomachinery may be designed through methodological, rather than technological, improvements becomes the focus of this work; the criterion for success of the project being the degree of process acceleration achieved. The work follows established design research methods: a descriptive study of a wide range of acceleration methods is undertaken to establish an overall solution strategy. A new "Surge-Stagnate Model" of the turbomachinery design process is proposed which facilitates the prescription of a new acceleration mechanism referred to as "Quasi-Optimisation". In order to embody this developed acceleration method, a second descriptive study to determine the requirements of a turbomachinery design tool is undertaken and a working tool developed. A testing programme involving the aero-dynamic design of a High Pressure Steam Turbine is then described, the principal aim of which is to judge the performance of Quasi-Optimisation against the success criterion. It was found that Quasi-Optimisation led to a characteristic 40% time lead reduction over unassisted processes. By comparison with an industrial case study, a typical design completed with such assistance was 1.3 percentage points more isentropically efficient, yet required an order of magnitude less time to achieve. Thus the project conclusively met its criterion for success.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available