Siemens crafts 3D construction software

Johannesburg, 18 Jul 2006

Siemens has developed software that will aid in the construction of combined-cycle power plants.

The software will perform simulations aimed at improving the form of the turbine blades in the plants in order to better airflow.

Speaking on behalf of Siemens in Germany, Utz Wever says that - whenever possible - the company uses standard software such as Ansys, CFX or Simpack to simulate technical systems. "But some problems are very difficult and many physical effects must be taken into account. For these cases no standard software is available."

Wever could not quantify the costs of the new three-dimensional tool, but says, in similar instances, the company has needed five "man-years" to reach first-prototype stage.

Improved efficiency

The software development, along with improved materials, is expected to improve efficiency to over 60%, from the previous 58%. Computers simulate the flow of the gases, which can be as hot as 1 500 degrees Celsius at the turbine.

The turbine blades are described mathematically by a tightly-woven net, and the gas flow is translated into Navier-Stokes equations, which reveals the optimal blade shape. In addition, an acoustic simulation process is used to calculate turbine vibration.

The design will be employed for the first time in 2007, and the prototype of the turbine is under construction in the Berlin plant.