Development of a novel numerical framework in OpenFOAM to simulate Kaplan turbine transients
Paper in proceeding, 2021

A novel numerical framework in OpenFOAM is proposed in this work, to simulate transient operation of Kaplan hydraulic turbines. Such transient operations involve a variation of both runner blade and guide vane angles, which also gives rise to a flow rate variation. A numerical simulation of such a process is very challenging, since it requires a deformation of both guide vane and runner meshes, with mesh slip conditions at arbitrarily shaped surfaces, at the same time that the runner mesh is rotating around the turbine axis. The currently available mesh morphing methodologies in OpenFOAM are not able to properly accomplish this. Thus a novel framework for OpenFOAM, including dynamic mesh solvers and boundary conditions, is developed to tackle this problem.

The new framework is utilized to simulate the flow during transient operation of the U9-400 Kaplan turbine model. The guide vanes and runner blades are rotated individually around their own axes with a constant rotational speed, while the runner is rotating, and the flow rate is linearly changed with the guide vane angle. It is shown that the novel numerical framework can successfully be utilized to simulate the load change of Kaplan turbines.


Saeed Salehi

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Håkan Nilsson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Fluid Dynamics

Eric Lillberg


Nicolas Edh


IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science

17551307 (ISSN) 17551315 (eISSN)

Vol. 774 1 012058

30th IAHR Symposium on Hydraulic Machinery and Systems Online (Virtual conference)
Lausanne, Switzerland,

Flow in turbines during new operating procedures

Energiforsk AB, 2019-10-01 -- 2020-12-31.

Swedish Energy Agency, 2019-10-01 -- 2021-08-31.

Svenskt Vattenkraftcentrum, 2019-10-01 -- 2021-08-31.

Areas of Advance



C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)

Subject Categories

Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics



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