Forced response analysis is a critical part in the radial turbine design process. It estimates the vibration mode and level due to aerodynamic excitations and then enables the analysis of high-cycle fatigue (HCF) to determine the life span of the turbine stage. Two key aspects of the forced response analysis are the determination of the aerodynamic forcing and damping which can be calculated from unsteady 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. These simulations are problematic due to the high level of complexity in the simulations (multi-row, full annular, tip gap, etc.) and the consequent high-computational cost. The aim of this paper is to investigate and compare different CFD methods applied to the forced response analysis of a radial turbine. Full annular simulations are performed for the prediction of the excitation force. This method is taken as the baseline and is usually the most time-consuming one. One method of reducing the computational effort is to use Phase-lag periodic boundary conditions. A further reduction can be obtained by using a frequency-based method called nonlinear harmonic. For the prediction of aero-damping, the Phase -lag periodic boundary condition method is also available. Moreover, a frequency-based method called harmonic balance can further accelerate the aero-damping calculation. In this paper, these CFD methods will be applied to the simulations of an open-geometry radial turbine with a vaned volute. A comparison of unsteady results from different methods will be presented. These unsteady results will also be implemented to a tuned forced response analysis in order to directly compare the corresponding maximum blade vibration amplitudes.

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