Starting from first principles, we have developed BladeSim®. This suite of tools allows us to analyse, simulate, develop and virtual prototype the Lontra Blade Compressor® for many applications. Since the first principle model, our aim was always a fundamental understanding of the operating geometry in the Lontra compressor. We now have tools to optimise the shape of the compression chamber. Also predict gas pulsation in attached pipework, and design reactive silencers alongside a compressor to maximise performance and minimise noise. As an example of its accuracy the correlation on mass flow was less than 2% from reality. This was straight from the simulation model, and without any “fudge factors”, when compared to a newly tested prototype.
At the core of BladeSim® is a time-domain thermodynamic model of the working chamber. This includes leakage paths and port models developed in-house, specifically for the unique Lontra Blade Compressor® layout. When designing a product, however, it is not enough to only consider the compressor air-end. The reason for this being packaging and ancillary requirements can have significant effects on the performance and behaviour of the complete system.
Therefore we have also developed a 1D gas dynamic model which accurately models the networks of pipes, reactive silencer elements and other common components in pipe runs. Using these tools we are able to fine-tune the efficiency of a future product at the same time as developing a tailored package layout to maximise performance and reliability in the real world. Once a prototype has been built, it is tested in one of our test cells, where logged data allows us to reconstruct spatial variation in pressure within the chamber for each compression cycle to identify any unexpected behaviour, and advanced frequency-domain analysis allows us to measure in-situ silencer performance.