Hydro-Turbine Rotor Hub

Hydro-Turbine Rotor Hub:

Design and Analyze a Tri-Lobe Turbine Blade Support Hub capable of withstanding ultimate design loads and record specific strain quantities for Analysis calibration.

Kinetic Hydropower is taking form in many ways throughout the globe. With the persistent race for discovery of new and unique ways to produce energy in an environmentally friendly way, there is no shortage of engineering challenges. An alternative energy company is employing underwater turbines to generate clean energy from the currents of tides, rivers and man-made channels. Water currents provide a steady and predictable source of energy, as the flows of rivers and tides can be predicted up to decades into the future. This company approached Adept to aid them with the design and analysis of the rotor hub and support pylon of their next prototype turbine. A Kinetic Hydro-power turbine bears many similarities to wind turbines in appearance and design, however their operating environments couldn’t be more different. Despite these differences Adept’s broad Engineering experience and direct wind power experience enabled Adept to be a valuable asset for this company and remains a trusted engineering resource.  This client requires expertise in Structural analysis, machine design and fluid dynamics.

Armed with computer simulations of the underwater loading to the turbine blades Adept had the necessary information to perform the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and design the rotor hub.  A key purpose of this hub was to acquire real strain test data from an operating turbine. Data like this is imperative to any life critical application, which despite the advances in computer simulations there is no substitute to real data. In order to accomplish this the hub was instrumented with strain gauges where strain data would be recorded during testing. With real data we were able to correlate our analysis and be able to better understand the environment a machine of this type needs to endure.

Obviously, a project of this scale; designing, analyzing, building, deploying and retrieving a full scale underwater turbine is a huge expense. You might ask yourself why bare such a large expense merely to acquire some data. Test such as these are necessary for critical applications. There are many reasons why a system or component maybe deemed critical, one of many reasons is if they are life critical or bare great risk due to failure. Not only is the alternative energy industry extremely competitive, this particular technology possesses great challenges relative to its impact on survivability, deployment and recovery efforts. We’d prefer that machines didn’t break, but they do, and this particular machine due to its operational environment, bares a very large expense to repair. So although this machine doesn’t bear the responsibility of an aircraft, there is enough risk to failure that warrants this a critical application.

As can be seen from the small sample of projects placed on the website, Adept has designed machines on many scales. Whether it’s a desktop DNA Sequencer or full scale dumpster manipulator, Adept’s decades of engineering experience permit them to apply outside the box thinking while still adhering to core engineering principles for every project.


Design and Analysis Overview:

  • Material: Steel 4140
  • Bolted Flange Analysis
  • Precision component design.
  • Finite Element Analysis.
  • Germanischer Lloyd Specification.
  • Parameters
  • Miners Palmgren Rule.
  • Fatigue Analysis.
  • Geometric Tolerance Analysis.
  • ANSI Y14.5 detailed drawings.
  • Strain Gauge Calibration.
  • Full Scale Deployment and Testing.
  • Large Scale weldment.

Design Parameters:

  • Ultimate Load = 6100 ft-lb (Q), 7000 lb (T), 21000 ft-lbs (M)
  • Weight = 350 lb
  • Target Strain = 200 micro-strain
  • Environment: Seawater (Submerged)
  • American Weld Society D1.1M.

Hydro-Turbine Rotor Hub

Tri-Lobe Turbine Blade Support Hub in Making

Rotor Hub Design

Tri-Lobe Turbine Blade Support Hub