Adjoint-based unsteady optimization of turbomachinery operating with nonideal compressible flows

Antonio Rubino, Piero Colonna, Matteo Pini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Downloads (Pure)


The lack of established optimal design guidelines for turbomachinery operating in the nonideal flow regime (e.g., organic Rankine cycle turbines, CO2 compressors, compressors for refrigeration systems) demands for effective and efficient automated design methods. Past research work focused on gradient-free methods applied to computational fluid-dynamic simulations. The application of the adjoint method is a cost-effective alternative as it enables gradient-based optimization irrespective of the number of design variables. This paper presents the application of a fully turbulent unsteady adjoint method for the automated design of multirow turbomachinery partly operating in the nonideal flow regime. The method therefore allows for the solution of constrained unsteady fluid-dynamic optimization problems, in which the thermodynamic properties of the working fluid need to be modeled by means of complex equations of state. The optimal designs computed with unsteady simulations obtained with the harmonic balance method are then compared with optimal design resulting from mixing-plane simulations. The method is applied to the optimization of 1) a two-dimensional turbine cascade subject to time-varying inlet conditions, and 2) a two-dimensional turbine stage of an organic Rankine cycle power system. The results demonstrate the importance of computing fluid properties using accurate thermodynamic models and of using unsteady simulations for shape optimization of these machines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-918
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


Dive into the research topics of 'Adjoint-based unsteady optimization of turbomachinery operating with nonideal compressible flows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this