August 2002

Special Report: Fluid Flow and Rotating Equipment

Avoid open impeller failures

Numerical methods can help determine causes of failure

Knight, C., Borsig Technologies, Inc.

Open face impellers are used in many process applications in the petrochemical industry. While these impellers have good performance characteristics when designed properly, they do lend themselves to much debate when a failure occurs. The term failure phenomena often comes up; however, recent advances in numerical methods have helped eliminate the debate. Two major areas to address in industry regarding these impellers are that of "failure analysis" and "design." Let's take the failure case first. The technology involves use of a finite element tool. Fig. 1 shows a typical finite element mesh of an impeller.

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