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How to Improve Pump Curve Efficiency with 3D Inverse Design

Pump manufacturers estimate that 10 percent of all electrical power is used to move fluid around. Considering that up to 90 percent of these systems are inefficient, improving pump curve efficiencies is a significant way to improve global sustainability.

pump characteristics

As a result, legislators around the world are regulating that low-efficiency pumps be removed from the market.

These regulations focus on a pump’s efficiency over its operating range and not its initial design point. For example, you could create a small improvement at the pump’s initial design point but also flatten the contours of its pump curve.

Though this would create some minor improvements under the pump’s optimal operating conditions, it would improve its off-design performance outside of this range. This would therefore improve the pump’s overall eco-design rating.

Improving off-design performance and flattening the efficiency envelope is a difficult task — even for experienced pump designers. Traditionally, improving the design manually across the pump’s operation range requires a lot of trial and error.

However, what if you could define the parameters you want your pump to meet and then find the best design? This is where the 3D inverse design method using TURBOdesign1 comes into play.

Advantages of Inverse Design to Optimize Pump Curves

The 3D inverse design method computes the pump blade geometry for a specified distribution of blade loading and pressure field.

pump design comparison

The method enables designers to optimize a pump curve by exploring a design space without the trial and error of traditional design methodologies.

Furthermore, optimum blade loading has been shown to have generality. For example, blade loadings that flatten a pump curve for one configuration can also improve a pump curve associated with a different diameter or flow rate.

There are also computational advantages in using inverse design as an optimization strategy. In inverse design, the optimization is parametrized through the blade loading and not the blade geometry. This can significantly reduce the number of design parameters to cover the same design space.

In other words, engineers get high-accuracy surrogate models with a small number of geometries in the design table. If you could streamline the evaluation of the pump efficiency at different operating points using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), you could then use this inverse design-based optimization strategy to rapidly develop designs with improved efficiency.

Integrating of TURBOdesign1’s Inverse Design inside ANSYS Workbench

Integrating ADT’s TURBOdesign1 into ANSYS Workbench allows engineers to couple the tool’s inverse design capabilities with various ANSYS tools.

This allows you to mesh your designs in ANSYS Turbogrid and perform flow analysis in ANSYS CFX or ANSYS Fluent at multiple operating points. You can even assess the structural integrity of the design using finite element analysis (FEA).

Integration of ADT’s TURBOdesign1 in ANSYS Workbench for CFD and FEA analysis

ADT’s TURBOdesign module automatically sets up the connections within Workbench. This enables the data exchange between TURBOdesign1, TurboGrid, CFX and Fluent.

This means you can automatically use CFX to evaluate the pump curve of a geometry created by the inverse design method. You can then pass the results to TURBOdesign Optima or ANSYS DesignXplorer for further optimization.

To learn how this method helped pump manufacturer Franklin Electric optimize its pump designs watch the webinar: Turbomachinery Optimization by Coupling of ANSYS Workbench and TURBOdesign Suite.