Proj_13 - PhD Studentship

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					PhD Studentship
(Possible DEL Funded)
TITLE:     Exploiting Waste Heat Energy Using a Novel Turbine Concept for Very Low Specific

School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Supervisors: Dr S Spence and Dr J Early
Project Description:
Maximising the performance of small scale turbomachinery is a key technology in enabling many future
power systems to operate more efficiently. Such areas include highly boosted hybrid power units for
transport applications, fuel cells and Brayton cycles for biomass power generation. These new areas
are in addition to existing wide spread applications such as turbocharging, gas compression and small
gas turbines. One area that has rapidly growing interest is the use of the Organic Rankine Cycle to
recover useful work from the waste heat energy from various engine systems. A key element of the
Organic Rankine Cycle is the expander that extracts work from the fluid. This is particularly challenges
for smaller systems that entail relatively high pressures, but with low flow rates. The performance of
turbine expanders tends to deteriorate as the physical size of the unit decreases. A further problem is
that small efficient turbines result in high shaft speeds that are mechanically challenging to deal with.
A novel approach to a long established turbine expander concept is being proposed for Rankine
Cycles. The turbine would handle allow relatively high pressure ratios to be exploited with lower shaft
speeds. If successful, the concept would be particularly relevant to recovering energy from waste heat
from engines in automotive and commercial vehicle applications.
The research project would use a combined numerical and experimental approach. One dimensional
performance prediction methods would be used to investigate the range of design parameters and
produce an outline component design for a chosen application. The design would be further refined
using CFD methods, with particular attention to leakage flow and the interaction between rotor and
stator blade rows. A fully working prototype unit would be produced for performance testing in the QUB
turbo labs.
It is expected that the results of the research study would be of interest to automotive companies,
particularly vehicle manufacturers and turbocharger manufacturers. The results of the work would be
presented at the ASME Gas Turbine conference, the IMechE Turbocharger Conference and in the
ASME Journal of Turbomachinery.
Industrial Collaborator: PCA Engineers Ltd
Studentship: The maintenance allowance for 2010/11 will be £13,590 (to be confirmed)
Closing Date: 11 February 2011
Further details available from: Dr S Spence (
                                  or Dr J Early (

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