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1. WO2007103777 - TURBOCOMPRESSEUR A DEUX ARBRES

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

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TWO-SHAFT TURBOCHARGER

[0001] The present invention relates generally to compressors for turbomachinery and, more particularly, to apparatus and methods of operating a two-shaft turbocharger.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Turbochargers are used in a variety of applications for providing compressed gas for the operation of an internal combustion engine. As an example, with reference to FIG. 1 , a turbocharger 101 includes a turbocharger housing and a rotor configured to rotate within the turbocharger housing along an axis of rotor rotation 103 on thrust bearings and journal bearings. The turbocharger housing includes a turbine housing 105, a compressor housing 107, and a bearing housing 109 that connects the turbine housing to the compressor housing. The rotor includes a turbine wheel 11 1 located substantially within the turbine housing, a compressor wheel 113 located substantially within the compressor housing, and a shaft 115 extending along the axis of rotor rotation, through the bearing housing, to connect the turbine wheel to the compressor wheel.

[0003] The turbine housing 105 and turbine wheel 111 form a turbine configured to circumferentially receive a high-pressure exhaust gas stream 121 from an exhaust manifold 123 of an internal combustion engine 125. The turbine wheel (and thus the rotor) is driven in rotation around the axis of rotor rotation 103 by the high-pressure exhaust gas stream, which becomes a lower-pressure exhaust gas stream 127 and is axially released into an exhaust system (not shown).

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[0004] The compressor housing 107 and compressor wheel 113 form a compressor. The compressor wheel, being driven in rotation by the exhaust-gas driven turbine wheel 1 11 , is configured to compress axially received ambient air 131 into a pressurized air stream 133 that is ejected circumferentially from the compressor. The pressurized air stream is characterized by an increased temperature, over that of the ambient air, due to the compression process, but may be channeled through a convectively cooled charge air cooler 135 configured to dissipate heat from the pressurized air stream, and thereby increase its density. The resulting cooled and pressurized air stream 137 is channeled into an intake manifold 139 on the internal combustion engine.

[0005] Numerous modern turbocharger applications have increased pressure ratio and flow range requirements due to the use of exhaust gas recirculation ("EGR") to reduce emissions, and due to the need for higher engine torque and power ratings. Because conventional single-stage turbochargers have difficulty meeting these requirements, turbochargers are now being connected in series to meet these requirements. An arrangement of in-series turbochargers may add significant size, weight and cost to the overall cost of an internal combustion engine. Additionally, in-series turbochargers must be interconnected by interstage ducting, which can slow overall response time.

[0006] Another solution to the need for increased pressure ratio and flow range requirements is the Low Speed Turbocharger ("LST"), which uses two radial compressor wheels on a shaft connected to a single radial turbine. A challenge in designing an LST turbine is that it must provide the required power to efficiently drive both compressors, while having a sufficiently low rotational inertia so as to operate comparably with series turbochargers in terms of transient response.

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[0007] Accordingly, there has existed a need for a turbocharger apparatus and related methods to provide an increased pressure ratio and an extended flow range, while minimizing cost, size, weight and response time. Preferably these apparatus and related methods provide for accurate control of EGR flow rate over a broad range of engine and compressor operating points, while minimizing engine back-pressure, and thus reducing engine pumping losses. Preferred embodiments of the present invention satisfy these and other needs, and provide further related advantages.

suyyARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] In various embodiments, the present invention solves some or all of the needs mentioned above, typically providing a two-shaft turbocharger system that provide an increased pressure ratio and an extended flow range, while minimizing cost, size, weight and response time. Preferably these apparatus operate to accurately control EGR flow rate over a broad range of engine and compressor operating points, and minimize engine back-pressure to reduce engine pumping losses.

[0009] The invention typically provides a turbocharger system having a first compressor wheel and a first turbine wheel mounted on a first shaft supported by a housing, and a second compressor wheel and a second turbine wheel mounted on a second shaft supported by the housing. The first and the second shafts extend concentrically to define an axial direction, and the housing defines a duct extending axially between the first and second compressor wheels. The first compressor wheel is an axial compressor wheel configured to direct airflow axially through the axial duct toward the second compressor wheel when the first turbine is being driven by exhaust gas.

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[0010] Advantageously, the first axial compressor directing air into the axial duct provides for a responsive, low-pressure compressor providing pressurized air into a second compressor, wherein the duct has a limited volume so as to improve transient response time. Additionally, the axial compressor can be used at low boost levels to generate swirl entering the second compressor, which can minimize incidence on the second compressor wheel's blades, so as to provide a greater low-flow (surge) flow range than might be possible with a single stage compressor, thereby increasing the flow range on the low-flow side of the turbocharger's compressor map. This greater flow range can be accomplished without the pressure loss, and related inefficiency loss, which would occur due to the use of inlet guide vanes. Furthermore, because the axial compressor will increase the density of the air entering the second compressor, the high-flow (choke) flow rate will increase, thereby increasing the flow range on the high-flow side of the turbocharger's compressor map.

[0011] The invention typically further features that the housing defines a second axial duct that extends between the first and second turbine wheels, and that the second turbine wheel is a radial turbine wheel configured to direct airflow axially through the second axial duct toward the first turbine wheel. Advantageously, the second radial turbine directing air into the second axial duct provides for a responsive, low-pressure turbine to receive pressurized exhaust from the radial turbine, wherein the duct has a limited volume to improve transient response time.

[0012] The invention further features the use of vanes within the first and second axial ducts. The vanes preferably have a controllable geometry, and there is a control system providing for accurate and individual control over the speed of each turbine, and providing for improved surge and choke characteristics.

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[0013] Other features and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, taken with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention. The detailed description of particular preferred embodiments, as set out below to enable one to build and use an embodiment of the invention, are not intended to limit the enumerated claims, but rather, they are intended to serve as particular examples of the claimed invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] Figure 1 is a schematic layout of an internal combustion engine with a turbocharger and a charge air cooler under the present invention.

[0015] Figure 2 is a conceptual cross-section view of a turbocharger embodying the present invention.

[0016] Figure 3 is a partial conceptual view of a compressor guide vane apparatus or turbine stator vane apparatus, along with an associated ring gear unison ring for use in the turbocharger depicted in Figure 2.

[0017] Figure 4 is a partial view of two associated split bearing rings for use with the compressor guide vane apparatus or turbine stator vane apparatus depicted in Figure 3.

[0018] Figure 5 diagrams relative and absolute airflow for a low-speed / low-flow case of a first and second stage compressor wheel blade in the turbocharger depicted in figure 2.

[0019] Figure 6 diagrams relative and absolute airflow for a high-speed / high-fiow case of a first and second stage compressor wheel blade in the turbocharger depicted in figure 2, H00Q6606
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DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] The invention summarized above and defined by the enumerated claims may be better understood by referring to the following detailed description, which should be read with the accompanying drawings. This detailed description of particular preferred embodiments of the invention, set out below to enable one to build and use particular implementations of the invention, is not intended to limit the enumerated claims, but rather, it is intended to provide particular examples of them.

[0021] Typical embodiments of the present invention reside in a dual shaft axial-radial turbocharger, along with associated methods and apparatus. With reference to Figure 2, a turbocharger 201 under the present invention is usable with an internal combustion engine in a fashion similar to a typical turbocharger, as described with reference to Figure 1. The turbocharger includes a first, inner rotor, including a first-stage, low-pressure, axial compressor wheel 203, an inner shaft 205, and a second-stage, low-pressure, axial turbine wheel 207. It further includes a second, outer rotor, including a second-stage, high-pressure, radial compressor wheel 211 , an outer shaft

213, and a first-stage, high-pressure, radial turbine wheel 215, The inner shaft concentrically extends through the outer shaft in an axial direction defined by a common axis of rotation 217 for both rotors.

[0022] Each compressor wheel and turbine wheel includes a plurality of blades that define an inducer (i.e., an intake end of the combined set of blades while rotating) and an exducer (i.e., an output end of the combined set of blades while rotating). The first-stage, low-pressure axial compressor wheel 203 includes a plurality of axial compressor blades 221 (i.e., impellers) that define a typically circular inducer and a typically circular exducer. The second-stage, high-pressure radial compressor wheel 211 includes a plurality of radia! compressor blades 223 (i.e., impellers) that define a typically circular H0006606
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inducer and a typically annular exducer. The first-stage, high-pressure, radial turbine wheel 215 includes a plurality of radial turbine blades 225 that define a typically annular inducer and a typically circular exducer. The second-stage, low-pressure, axial turbine wheel 207 includes a plurality of axial turbine blades 227 that define a typically circular inducer and a typically circular exducer.

[0023] The turbocharger also includes a housing configured to house the inner and outer rotors. The housing includes several portions, including a bearing housing 228, a compressor housing 229, and a turbine housing 230. The compressor housing forms and air passageway, serially including an intake duct 231 leading axially into the axial compressor inducer, an axial compressor impeller passage 233 leading from the axial compressor inducer to the axial compressor exducer and substantially conforming to the space through which the axial compressor blades rotate, a compressor-connection duct 235 leading axially from the axial compressor exducer into the radial compressor inducer, a radial compressor impeller passage 237 leading from the radial compressor inducer to the radial compressor exducer and substantially conforming to the space through which the radial compressor blades rotate, a diffuser 239 leading radially outward from the exducer, and a volute 241 extending around the diffuser.

[0024] The compressor volute forms a scroll shape, and leads to an outlet port through which the pressurized air stream is ejected circumferentially (i.e., normal to the circumference of the scroll at the exit) as the pressurized air stream that passes to the (optional) charge air cooler and intake manifold. As is typical in automotive applications, the intake duct 231 is fed a stream of filtered external air from an intake passage in fluid communication with the external atmosphere. Each portion of the passage is in fluid communication with the next.

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[0025] The turbine housing 230 forms an air passageway, serially including a turbine inlet volute 241 leading radially into the radial turbine inducer, a radial turbine impeller passage 243 leading from the radial turbine inducer to the radial turbine exducer and substantially conforming to the space through which the radial turbine blades rotate, a turbine connection duct 245 leading axially from the radial turbine exducer into the axial turbine inducer, an axial turbine impeller passage 247 leading from the axial turbine inducer to the axial turbine exducer and substantially conforming to the space through which the axial turbine blades rotate, and a discharge duct 249 leading axially outward from the axial turbine exducer.

[0026] The turbine volute forms a scroll shape, and received exhaust gas from the exhaust manifold. As is typical in automotive applications, the discharge duct discharges passing air into an exhaust system. Each portion of the passage is in fluid communication with the next.

[0027] The inner shaft 205 is supported by the compressor and turbine housings on a first plurality of bearings 251 , typically being located outboard of the low-pressure compressor and turbine wheels, 203 and 207, at both ends of the inner shaft, respectively. The outer shaft 213 is supported by the bearing housing on a second plurality of bearings 253, typically located intermediate the high-pressure compressor and turbine wheels, 211 and 215. The inner-shaft and outer-shaft bearings are either floating or semi-floating journal type bearings or ball bearings. Optionally, bearings contained within the same bearing housing as used for the outer shaft may also be used for the inner shaft. The bearings are all supported, either directly or indirectiy, by the housing. The bearing system includes a suitable lubrication system using known technology. The two shafts rotate independently and thus their relative speeds may very.

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[0028] Except as otherwise discussed, in operation an embodiment of the present invention may operate in a fashion similar to in-series turbochargers. At low speeds surge flow is governed by the axial compressor, which can operate at lower flow rates than a radial compressor. During engine acceleration, turbocharger boost will initially be provided by primarily spooling up the low-pressure, inner rotor, which will normally have a low rotational inertia (typically lower than that of a Low Speed Turbocharger or either of the two turbochargers in an in-series turbocharger system). The low rotational inertia minimizes the level of kinetic energy stored by the rotating inner rotor, and therefore minimizes the response time to achieve low-end boost. Also contributing to favorable transient response over other multiple-compression type turbocharger systems is the limited volume contained within the interstage ducting (e.g., the compressor-connection duct) as compared to in-series turbochargers with more ducting. At high speeds the axial compressor increases the air pressure and density entering the radial compressor, which increases the choke flow rate.

[0029] As an alternative to in-series turbochargers, the present invention appears to offer substantially improved packaging (including smaller overall size and weight) and lower costs of manufacture. Additionally, an embodiment of the present invention is believed to provide broader compressor flow range than a comparable Low Speed Turbocharger, as well as a lower transient response time, which may be comparable to or better than the transient response performance achieved by in-series turbochargers. This is all accomplished while providing a high compressor-pressure-ratio capability.

[0030] The compressor-connection duct 235 may include a plurality of compressor guide vanes 261. While the compressor guide vanes may be stationary, they are preferably of a variable, controllable geometry (e.g., they may be controllably pivoted about a radial axis perpendicular to the rotor axis H0006606
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of rotation 217), providing control over the airflow between the two compressors. More particularly, preferably the compressor guide vanes are actuated by an actuator that is controliably directed by a controller so as to transition the functionality of the axial, low-pressure compressor from a swirl generator for low-flow conditions to a boost enhancing device for high-flow conditions.

[0031] Similarly, the turbine-connection duct 245 may include a plurality of turbine stator vanes 263. While the turbocharger stator vanes may be stationary, they are preferably of a variable, controllable geometry (e.g., they may be controliably pivoted about a radial axis perpendicular to the rotor axis of rotation 217), providing control over the airflow between the two turbines.

[0032] With reference to figures 3 and 4, the variable geometry compressor guide vanes and the variable geometry turbine stator vanes are each preferably single-piece vanes 301 carried on a radially extending shaft 303 (with reference to the rotors) that connects to a geared disk 305 that is concentric with the common axis of rotation 217 (figure 2). The shaft of each compressor guide vane and each turbine stator vane is supported between grooves 311 in two split bearing rings 313, providing for each compressor guide vane and each turbine stator vane to rotate along a longitudinal axis of its respective shaft. The vanes are driven in rotation by a ring gear unison ring 307 that is cooperatively geared to drive each disk, and the ring gear unison ring is part of a circular actuation system, as is known for vane actuation in turbocharger technology.

[0033] The use of variable compressor guide vanes therefore allows an engine controller to increase the flow range of the compressor. At low speeds, the compressor guide vanes are preferably adjusted to direct the flow into the second stage wheel in a swirling direction compatible with the angle of the second stage compressor blades, thereby minimizing surge flow. At high H0006606
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speeds, the compressor guide vanes are preferably adjusted to direct the flow into the second stage compressor wheel in an axial or near-axial direction, to maximize choke flow capacity.

[0034] More particularly, with reference to figures 5 (representing low-speed / low-flow cases) and 6 (representing high-speed / hi-flow cases), low-speed / low-flow inlet airflow at absolute velocity v15 is received at first stage compressor blade A5 (which is moving at velocity u25) with a relative wind speed of wl5. The airflow departs the first stage compressor blade at relative wind speed w25 and an absolute velocity of v25. The compressor guide vanes B5 cause the airflow to depart the guide vanes at a nonaxial absolute velocity v35. With second stage compressor blade C5 moving at velocity u35, the relative wind speed w35 experienced by the second stage compressor blade is at an optimal angle to prevent flow separation, and more particularly, to prevent surge.

[0035] High-speed / hϊ-flow cases inlet airflow at absolute velocity v16 is received at first stage compressor blade A6 (which is moving at velocity u26) with a relative wind speed of w16. The airflow departs the first stage compressor blade at relative wind speed w26 and an absolute velocity of v26. The compressor guide vanes B6 have been actuated to a different orientation than depicted for the low-speed case (B5), and cause the airflow to depart the guide vanes at an axial absolute velocity v36. With second stage compressor blade C6 moving at velocity u36, the relative wind speed w36 experienced by the second stage compressor blade is at an optimal angle to maximize the choke flow rate.

[0036] With reference to figure 2, the compressor diffuser 239 optionally may include a plurality of either stationary or variable diffuser vanes 271. The diffuser will be designed Io reduce the flow velocity and minimize total pressure losses before the flow enters the compressor volute, where the flow H0006606
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is collected and discharged to ducting leading to the engine. The use of variable geometry diffuser vanes provides for the stabilization of airflow in the diffuser at low flow rates, as well as for achieving maximum diffuser performance at high flow rates and pressure ratios, such as are found when operating at conditions near engine peak torque and at an engine's rated operating point.

[0037] A plurality of stationary or variable turbine nozzle vanes 273 may optionally be used between the turbine inlet volute 241 and the inducer of the first-stage, high-pressure radial turbine wheel 215. Using the variable turbine nozzle vanes and the turbine stator vanes, the rotation rates of the two rotors may be accurately controlled. Thus, different compressor speed combinations can be used to achieve a given boost level, and different levels of turbine efficiency, and therefore different overall turbine pressure ratios may be achieved by using the variable geometry provided by the turbine stator vanes and variable turbine vanes. Preferably, the turbine pressure ratio (or engine back-pressure relative to the compressor pressure ratio or engine inlet boost level) is controllably modulated to drive the required level of Exhaust Gas Recirculation ("EGR") at all engine operating conditions. Properly controlled, the present invention may minimize engine pumping losses, reduce fuel consumption and provide a required level of EGR to meet emissions regulations.

[0038] The operation of the turbocharger, and particularly, the geometry of all variable geometry vanes, is controlled by an engine control unit ("ECU") that is configured as a controller for controlling the operation of the turbocharger, such as to provide for adequate compressor pressure ratio, adequate transient response time, adequate turbine pressure ratio, minimized engine pumping losses, and minimized fuel consumption, yore particularly, the control system will precisely control the delivery of air to the engine over the full range of operating conditions by controlling the variable geometry H0006606
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compressor-connection vanes with the objectives of maintaining stable compressor operation, maximizing compressor efficiency and maintaining the speed of the two rotors within specified safe speed limits. The control system will control the variable geometry diffuser vanes with the objectives of stabilization of airflow in the diffuser at low flow rates, and achieving maximum diffuser performance at high flow rates and pressure ratios. The speed for each compressor will be precisely controlled by modulation of the turbine-connection stator vanes 263 and/or the variable turbine nozzle vanes 273,

[0039] In construction, each of the two compressor wheels are fabricated from castable aluminum alloy using conventional tooling and casting processes for turbocharger compressors. For some high pressure-ratio applications, the second stage compressor wheel might be made from titanium, such as to better take advantage of the increased intake air density provided by the first stage compressor. The compressor wheels are attached to their respective shafts using a threaded joint or other suitable attachment for shaft-wheel assemblies.

[0040] Each of the two turbine wheels are fabricated from a nickel based super-alloy using conventional tooling and casting processes. The turbine wheels are permanently attached to their respective shafts, either by inertia welding, e-beam welding, or other suitable attachment means.

[0041] It is to be understood that the invention further comprises related apparatus and methods for designing turbocharger systems and for producing turbocharger systems, as well as the apparatus and methods of the turbocharger systems themselves, in short, the above disclosed features can be combined in a wide variety of configurations within the anticipated scope of the invention.

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[0042] While particular forms of the invention have been illustrated and described, it will be apparent that various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Fore example, for various aspects of the invention, any or all of the compressor and turbine wheels could be altered in type (e.g., between axial and radial), and all combinations within the scope of the claims below are envisioned. Thus, although the invention has been described in detail with reference only to the preferred embodiments, those having ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that various modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, Accordingly, the invention is not intended to be limited by the above discussion, and is defined with reference to the following claims.