Mixed flow turbines offer additional design freedom compared with conventional radial turbines. This is useful in the automotive turbocharger application to reduce rotor inertia, which can be very beneficial for the transient response of a highly-boosted downsized passenger car powertrain. A previously published study from the authors analysed a series of nine mixed flow turbine rotors with varying blade cone angle and inlet blade angle. This paper reports an extension of that study with two further mixed flow turbine rotors where the chord length of the rotor blade was extended. The aim of this work was to understand both the aerodynamic and mechanical impacts of varying the chord length, particularly for the turbocharger application where off-design performance and transient response are very important. The baseline mixed flow rotor for this study had a blade cone angle of 30° and an inlet blade angle of 30°. Two further variations were produced; one with the TE extended in the downstream direction across the entire blade span. In the second variation the chord was extended at the hub corner only, while the shroud corner of the TE remained unchanged, with the aim of achieving some aerodynamic improvement while meeting mechanical requirements.
When the blade was extended at both the hub and shroud, the inertia and stress levels increased significantly and the blade eigenfrequencies reduced. There was significant improvement in peak efficiency, but the mechanical performance was unfavourable. The improvement in peak efficiency was mainly due to better exhaust diffuser performance and therefore would not be realised in most turbocharger installations.
The blade that was extended at only the hub corner incurred very little additional inertia, and the centrifugal stresses and blade eigenfrequencies were improved. Consequently, it was possible to reduce the blade thickness at the TE in order to achieve a more aerodynamically optimised design. In this case, the mechanical performance was acceptable and there were efficiency improvements of up to 1.1% pts at off-design conditions, with no reduction in peak efficiency or maximum mass flow rate. Therefore, the blade that was extended only at the hub produced some improvement within acceptable mechanical limits. The flow field features were considered for the three rotor geometries to explain the changes in loss and efficiency across the operating range.