Mass transfer studies across ventilated hydrofoils: A step towards hydroturbine aeration

Ashish Karn, Garrett M. Monson, Christopher R. Ellis, Jiarong Hong, Roger E.A. Arndt, John S. Gulliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The water discharged by hydropower facilities is a matter of increasing concern due to poor downstream water quality. The use of auto-venting hydroturbines has been suggested as one of the best ways to mitigate low dissolved oxygen levels in the downstream water. Much of the design of auto-venting hydroturbines is currently performed with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. However, there is little information available to test and verify the performance of these simulations regarding gas transfer and bubble size distribution. This paper investigates the performance of a water tunnel test-bed for CFD simulations of an auto-venting hydroturbine through the use of a ventilated hydrofoil. Bubble size distributions are measured by a shadow imaging technique and found to have a Sauter mean diameter of 0.9 mm for a reference case. Higher liquid velocities, a lower airflow rate and a higher angle of attack all resulted in a greater number of small bubbles and a lower weighted mean bubble size. Bubble-water oxygen transfer is measured by the disturbed equilibrium technique. The gas transfer model of Azbel (1981) is utilized to characterize the liquid film coefficient for oxygen transfer, with one scaling coefficient to reflect the fact that characteristic turbulent velocity is replaced by cross-sectional mean velocity. The value of the coefficient is found to stay constant at a particular hydrofoil configuration while it varied over a narrow range of 0.52-0.60 for different hydrofoil angles of attack. This suggests that it is an appropriate coefficient for flow over a ventilated hydrofoil and possibly other flow situations. These results can be used by investigators to test and verify their CFD model against known bubble size distributions and gas transfer in a water tunnel flow that has important similarities to an auto-venting hydroturbine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-520
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by the Department of Energy Contract # DE-EE0005416 . Recognition must be given to Mr. Ellison Kawakami currently of 3M Corporation and Dr. Seung-Jae Lee of the Research Institute of Marine Systems Engineering Seoul National University, Korea for their contributions to the initial development of the shadow imaging system.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Auto venting turbines
  • Bubble size distribution
  • Bubble-water transfer
  • Gas transfer
  • Hydroturbine aeration
  • Liquid film coefficient
  • Mass transfer model
  • Shadow imaging technique
  • Ventilated hydrofoil


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