Experiments in Fluids

, 59:95 | Cite as

Experimental investigation of the sloshing motion of the water free surface in the draft tube of a Francis turbine operating in synchronous condenser mode

  • Elena VagnoniEmail author
  • Arthur Favrel
  • Loïc Andolfatto
  • François Avellan
Research Article


Hydropower units may be required to operate in condenser mode to supply reactive power. In this operating mode, the water level in the turbine or pump-turbine is decreased below the runner by closing the guide vanes and injecting pressurized air. While operating in condenser mode the machine experiences power losses due to several air–water interaction phenomena which cause air losses. One of such phenomena is the sloshing motion of the water free surface below the runner in the draft tube cone of a Francis turbine. The objective of the present work is to experimentally investigate the sloshing motion of the water free surface in the draft tube cone of a reduced scale physical model of a Francis turbine operating in condenser mode. Images acquisition and simultaneous pressure fluctuation measurements are performed and an image processing method is developed to investigate amplitude and frequency of the sloshing motion of the free surface. It is found that this motion is excited at the natural frequency of the water volume and corresponds to the azimuthal wavenumber \(m = 1\) of a rotating gravity wave. The amplitude of the motion is perturbed by wave breaking and it decreases by increasing the densimetric Froude number. The sloshing frequency slightly increases with respect to the natural frequency of the water volume by increasing the densimetric Froude number. Moreover, it results that this resonant phenomenon is not related to the torque perturbation.



The authors would like to thank BC Hydro for making available the reduced-scale model. Moreover the authors would like to acknowledge the technical staff of the Laboratory for Hydraulic Machines, especially Alberto Bullani, Georges Crittin, David Buzzi, Christian Sierro, Alain Renaud and Vincent Berruex.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPFL-LHMLausanneSwitzerland

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