Design optimization of splitter blades for rocket engine turbopump

Francesco Torre, Shinichi Konno, Matteo Pini, Y. Kawata, Claudio Lettieri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we present and validate a shape optimization framework for the design of splitter blades that extends the operative range under cavitation while maintaining the wetted performance of rocket engine turbopumps. For a target turbopump applicatio n, the optimization framework allows for independent changes to the blade angle distributions across the span and to the pitchwise position of the splitter blades while preserving the thickness distributions. The optimization is conducted with a surrogate - based gradient method. The geometry is optimized at a fixed cavitation number corresponding to a 5% head coefficient drop - off, while constraints are imposed on the wet pump performance. It is found that this approach, coupled with the surrogate - based opti mization process , reduces the computational cost of the optimization process by minimizing the number of multiphase calculations. The numerical results suggest that the optimized splitter blades successfully increase the pump operative range by 2.2% and i ncrease the head coefficient by 5.3% compared to the baseline case with non - optimized splitters. These results are corroborated by experiments conducted in a closed - loop water test facility . Several pump geometries are tested through rapid prototyping usin g additive manufacturing. The experimental data validate the optimization framework, demonstrating a 4.7% increase of pump operative range and a 7.6% increase in head coefficient. The calculations are used to gain insight in the physical mechanisms for the performance improvement. The analysis of the results indicates that the improved performance is due to the optimized position and shape of the splitter blades which increase the pump slip factor . The paper breaks new ground in defining an efficient design methodology for the improvement of cavitating performance in rocket turbopumps
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASME 2018 Turbo Expo Turbomachinery Technical Conference & Exposition
Subtitle of host publicationJune 11-15, 2018, Oslo, Norway
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7918-5102-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition - Norway Exhibition and Convention Centre, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 11 Jun 201815 Jun 2018
Conference number: 63


ConferenceASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2018
Internet address

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