Structural analysis of turbomachinery
One of PCA's important attributes is the specific and extensive structural analysis capability, that complements our skills in aero-thermal design. PCA's staff have a long history in stress and vibration analysis, which began with Finite Element code development in the early years of the business. PCA's in-house 3D FE capability was functionally equivalent to the commercially available tools of the time. Those codes form the basis of turbomachinery-specific design tools that are an important part of our ability to design quickly and accurately today. The in-depth understanding of structural methods, and PCA's concentration on turbomachinery, led to pioneering work by PCA on fully coupled CFD-FEA interaction in the early 1990s, which has matured into the flutter and forced response analysis tools now routinely used within ANSYS Workbench.
The stress and dynamic analysis of fans, compressors and turbines is naturally routine at PCA and the key skills are not simply in running the commercial solvers, but in establishing an effective model, appropriately loaded and constrained, and in the interpretation of the results. PCA has the experience to set the acceptance criteria and understands how to use the results to guide the development of the design. Experience includes the design of fir-tree roots and interlocking shrouds for axial turbine blades, part-span ‘clappers' or dampers on long, slender blades, and in deriving the static shapes for manufacture from the hot, running geometry.