Numerical Analysis of Flow Field in Generator End-Winding Region
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Cooling in an end-winding region of a high-powered, large-sized generator still remains a challenge today because of a number of factors: a larger number of parts/components with irregular geometries, complexity in cooling flow paths, flow splitting and mixing, and interactions between rotor-induced rotating flows and nonrotating flows from stationary sections. One of the key challenges is to model cooling flows passing through armature bars, which are made up of bundles of strands of insulated copper wires and are bent oppositely to cross each other. This work succeeded in modeling a complex generator end-winding region with great efforts to simplify the model by treating the armature bar region as a porous medium. The flow and pressure fields at the end-winding region were investigated numerically using an axial symmetric computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. Based on the analysis, the cooling flow rate at each flow branch (rotor-stator gap, rotor subslot, outside space block, and small ventilation holes to the heat exchanger) was determined, and the high-pressure gradient zones were identified. The CFD results have been successfully used to optimize the flow path configuration for improving the generator operation performance, and the control of the cooling flow, as well as minimizing windage losses and flow-introduced noises.