Failure Analysis Of Radiator Fan Blade Of Diesel Locomotive Engine With Reverse Engineering

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV1IS7370

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Failure Analysis Of Radiator Fan Blade Of Diesel Locomotive Engine With Reverse Engineering

Avinash Gudimetla 1 C V Gopinath 3 K L Narasimha Murty 2

1 M.Tech Student, Department of Mechanical. Engineering, GIET, Rajahmundry

2 Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical. Engineering, GIET, Rajahmundry

3 Principal, BITS, Visakhapatnam

Railway diesel locomotive engine contains a wide (66) radiator fan, whose primary function is to drive away excess heat from engine jacket cooling liquid. The radiator fan blades are of complex 3D shape and are made up of cast aluminum. This paper presents optimum material evaluation of the blade, to explore the causes of failure at junction of blade and flange and to suggest a suitable alternative material for the blade. Static and dynamic analyses have been carried out separately. In absence of design data, the reverse engineering process can be considered as a major tool for modeling. In this paper the design data for radiator blade is obtained using reverse engineering technique. Using the data the solid model of the radiator blade is created in ANSYS. 3D solid tetrahedron element is considered for the structural analysis. The axial thrust and torque loads are applied uniformly at several cross sections of blade, considering the blade as a cantilever beam. Dynamic analysis under pre- stress conditions at full fan speed investigated. Different load variations and material variations are employed to study and propose a suitable material to withstand structural and dynamic loads. Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) material is suggested to Railway Engineering authorities and it is under consideration and testing stage.

  1. The radiator fan is a device, which sucks the atmospheric air through the radiator panels and expels it to atmosphere to cool the engine coolant after discharge from the engine and maintains an acceptable operating temperature by transferring heat from the engine to the atmospheric air. The radiator fan assembly is fitted at the rear end of the locomotive, which takes drive from the engine through horizontal shaft, eddy current clutch gearbox & universal shaft arrangement (Fig.1). The radiator fan assembly consist of a hub with six blades screwed on its periphery and is mounted on the fan shaft and bearing housing assembly. It is driven by a universal coupling through an eddy current clutch and right angle gear box unit which transfers the power from horizontal to vertical direction and raises the speed of the shaft in the ratio of 1: 1.312. The locomotive air compressor is connected to the radiator fan drive shaft by a rubber cushioned flexible rigid coupling. It consists of a rigid half, mounted on the fan drive shaft, made up of an inner and outer member using rubber blocks between the two members.

    As an object moves through a fluid, the velocity of the fluid varies around the surface of the object, which induces a centrifugal force on the body. This centrifugal force on the fluid particles on the upper side i.e. convex side tries to move them away from the surface. This reduces the static pressure on this side below the free stream pressure. On account of this suction effect, the convex surface of the blade is known as suction side. This centrifugal force on the lower side i.e. concave side presses the fluid harder on the blade

    surface, thus increasing the static pressure above that of the free stream. Therefore, this side of the blade is known as the pressure side. The upward force on the blade is the cumulative effect if the positive static pressure on the pressure side and the negative pressure on the suction side. Due to this pressure difference lift and drag forces are created.

    1. Drag is the force that opposes a fan motion through the air. Drag is generated by every part of the radiator fan assembly. Drag is generated by the interaction and contact of a solid body with a fluid (liquid or gas). Drag is not generated by a force field, in the sense of a gravitational field or an electromagnetic field, where one object can affect another object without being in physical contact. For drag to be generated, the solid body must be in contact with the fluid. Drag is generated by the difference in velocity between the solid object and the fluid. There must be motion between the object and the fluid. If there is no motion, there is no drag. It makes no difference whether the object moves through a static fluid or whether the fluid moves past a static solid object. Drag acts in a direction that opposes the motion.

      As the fan moves through the air, there is another aerodynamic force present. The air resists the motion of the fan; this resistance force is called the drag of the fan. Like lift, there are many factors that affect the magnitude of the drag force including the shape of the body, the "stickiness" of the air, and the speed.

    2. Thrust is generated most often through the reaction of accelerating a mass of gas. The fan does work on the gas and as the gas is accelerated to the rear, the engine is accelerated in the opposite direction.

  2. Pratt and White [1] described the main cause for failure of first stage turbine blades of Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). Inspection showed that up to 50% of the blades in several units had cracks in the inside hollow core of the leading edge tips of blades and the failure is a result of one of these cracks growing through the entire wall thickness of the blade. Metallographic inspection of the cracked surface verified that the cracks were due to high cycle fatigue, which can be an indicator of substantial dynamic stress.

    Ilker Tari [2] discussed one of the important challenges in gas turbine design is cooling of the turbines due to high operating temperature uses. Je Chin Han and Sandip Dutta [3] discussed the sophisticated cooling scheme for continuous safe operation of gas turbine with high performance. The paper focused on turbine blade internal cooling, this is achieved by passing the coolant through several rib enhanced serpentine passages inside the blade and extracting the heat from the outside of the blades. Gabor Csaba [4] discussed the common failure mode for turbo machinery is high cycle fatigue of compressor and turbine blades, due to high dynamic stresses caused by blade vibration resonance within the operating range of the machinery. Patric B. Lawless [5] has conducted experimental research program to improve the design capability for high-temperature turbines by providing a thorough, detailed understanding and data base of turbine flow fields and their effect on heat transfer.

    C.C. Chamis [6] has evaluated the high velocity impact on the composite blade. The evaluation is focused on quantifying probabilistically the effects of uncertainties (scatter) in the variables that describe the impact, the blade make-up, (geometry and material), the blade response (displacements, strains, stresses, frequencies), the blade residual strength after impact, and the blade damage tolerance. Results show that the blade has relatively low damage tolerance at 0.999 probability of structural failure and substantial at 0.01 probability.

    Lim C. Menq[7] discussed the Coordinate Measuring Machine features and need for reverse engineering process. The basic methodology in reverse engineering initially digitizing the existing part and create a CAD model using this data so obtained. Then identify the material by conducting material testing like non destructive testing.

    Weir D. Bradley[8] discussed the surface fitting and reconstruction of surfaces for the digitized data. In experiment the exhaus fan blade surface divided into no of patches then digitized is patch individually. Some surface discontinuities are observed that are remodeled using CAD packages like ProE . Author suggested that more no of points to be probed to get similar geometry of original component where geometry changes gradually, Sharpe edge and internal surfaces

    Sobh.T., Owen. J .Jayenes[9] discussed the importance of Reverse engineering in industrial inspection and different type of instruments that are used in reverse engineering process. Reverse engineering techniques widely used for parts validation after manufacturing process.

  3. Even though the number of failures of a particular component may be small, they are important because they may affect the manufacturers reputation for reliability. In some cases, particularly when the failure results in personal injury or death, it will lead to expensive lawsuits. In any failure analysis it is important to get as much information as possible from the failed part itself along with an investigation of the conditions at the time of failure.

    The possible causes of failures in case of radiator fan blades are as fallows.

    • Improper heat treatment of the radiator fan blade.

    • Pressure variations along the length of the blade.

    • Other sundry causes

      1. Proper heat treatment must be done after casting process i.e., precipitation hardening, so as to increase the strength of the material. The purpose of precipitation hardening is to increase strength and hardness of heat treatable aluminum alloys, and is achieved through a sequence of solution heat treatment, quenching and natural/artificial ageing. However, certain alloys, which are relatively insensitive to cooling rates during quenching, can be precipitation hardened either by air-cooling or by water quenching directly from the elevated temperature shaping process followed by a ageing treatment.

        By conducting certain laboratory tests it is observed that that the heat treatment is not done properly and some defects such as

        • Pin holes/porosities have been revealed (in clusters at the critical zones and in scattered pattern over other locations of the fan-blades).

        • Notches/deep dents have been noticed at and nearby to the hub ends of the fan blades. One can notice that the fractured faces reveal two distinct zones having dull and bright in nature. Fractured faces of the broken blade are completely crystalline in nature.

    As the fan is rotating past the fluid (air), this fluid exerts some pressure variation along the cross-section of the blade, due to this pressure changes lift and drag forces will be created, these forces depends upon the design and operating conditions. For the radiator fan, lift force has to be minimum; otherwise it may lead to the breakage of the blade.

    • The radiator fan of diesel locomotives is required to work in a very hazardous environment with increase of oil dust and rain. It can be exposed to the roadside dust or fiber of various organic materials that can be in the environment of the locomotive operation such as, calcium carbonate, silica sand, aluminum, carbon black, fiber of various organic materials, oil, locomotives brake shoe dust, etc.

    • Failures may occur due to cracks generated with the impact of tools, machinery items like clamps, pipes etc during engine overhauling ( Fig. 2. a &b).

  4. If only one original part is available, it has to be handled with utmost care during the process as the original part is crucial for validation. The component must be thoroughly examined and the prominent geometric feature affecting the working of that component must be extracted and the feature which can be measured manually is also estimated. Such features encompass prismatic, geometric shapes. All other features such as free-formed surfaces and complex contours and 3D surfaces and to be measured through other techniques like scanning, acoustics and optical methods. All the dimensions which can be measured manually are taken with the help of available measuring devices like vernier calipers, height gauge, etc. The features which cannot be measured manually can be obtained through any available digitization techniques.

    The typical Reverse engineering process can be summarized in sequence as under

    • Physical model which needs to be redesigned or to be used as the base for new product.

    • Sca

      nning the physical model to get the point cloud. The scanning can be done using various scanners available in the market.

    • Processing the points cloud includes merging of points cloud if the part is scanned in several settings. The outlines and noise is eliminated. If too many points are collected then sampling of the points should be possible.

    • To create the polygon model and prepare .stl files for rapid prototyping.

    • To prepare the surface model to be sent to CAD/CAM packages for analysis.

    • Tool path generation with CAM package for suitable CNC machine manufacturing of final part on the CNC machine.

  5. First the blade is studied to identify the features for digitizing. The blade is divided into sections accordingly. More number of sections are made at the vicinity of the embossed region and the bent region. Along the identified sections the probing is done to get the point cloud data. The entire outer edge of the blade is digitized to get the size of the point cloud data. The following procedure followed to obtain the coordinate point data.

    • Select the suitable probe depending on the complex geometry of blade. Here straight probe of 0.5 mm diameter is used.

    • Clamp the blade to restrict the degrees of freedom.

    • Selecting the Element option in the main menu of Usoft to probe the edge coordinate of the blade root

    • Probe at different point along the aero foil section of blade.

    • The output file gives the coordinates of probed points along the blade length. These coordinates are taken from fixed reference point.

    The point cloud data obtained from Digitizing technique imported in IGES format into FEA package like ANSYS and solid modeling is done.

The geometric model of radiator blade is generated using ANSYS as follows. The key point data for blade collected from Reverse Engineering process. The list of key points through which the basic outline of the structure is obtained. Using splines and lines as boundaries different areas (Fig.3) are generated.

  1. The radiator fan blade with the existing material is analyzed first to verify the induced stresses are within the safe limits or not. Further a better alternative material is studied with the same input parameters. The material is chosen in such a way that it is least effected to the above said causes of failure. The first part of analysis is to calculate the various forces acting on the blade at different cross sections. Then the blade model is created and analyzed in ANSYS.

    Assumptions for the design

    • The fluid (air) is considered to be incompressible.

    • The turbulent effect i.e., stall conditions are neglected.

      The profile geometry calculations of aerofoil section for different radii of the fan and tabulated. (Calculations available with authors, if required).

        1. On account of considerable variation in the flow conditions and the blade section along the span, it is divided into a number of infinitesimal sections of small, radial thickness. The flow through such a section is assumed to be independent of the flow through other elements.

          Velocities and blade forces for the flow through an elemental section are shown in Fig.4. The flow has a mean velocity W and direction (from the axial direction). The lift force L is normal to the direction of mean flow and the drag D parallel to this. The xial (Fx) and tangential (Fy) forces acting on the element are also shown, (FR) is the resultant force inclined at an angle to the direction of lift.

          Resolving the forces in the axial and tangential directions,

          Fx = L sin – D cos ——-(1)

          Fy = L cos + D sin ——-(2) By definition lift and drag forces from the eq

          L = ½ Ca2(ldr)

          = 1/20.45881,225125.6620.194

          = 860.845 N

          D = ½ Cd2(ldr)

          = 1/20.0.3351,225125.6620.194

          = 62.856 N

          From these L and D values the Fx and Fy are calculated from the Eq (1) & (2) as: The axial thrust Fx = 98.950 N

          The torque force Fy = 857.446 N



          L (N)

          D (N)













































      For present analysis a single blade is imported to ANSYS (Fig.5) in IGES format.

      The blades are subjected to both thermal and structural loads. The blade is meshed with 3D 10-node tetrahedron thermal elements. The meshed model is as shown in Fig.6. In structural analysis the blade is considered as a cantilever beam (flange end fixed to hub). The loads i.e. the lift and drag forces which are resolved in Fx and Fy directions are applied at various cross sections of the blade obtained (Table.1). The applied loads and boundary conditions on blade are presented in Fig.7.

      The analysis is first carried out with the existing blade material i.e. cast aluminum. The maximum deformation and von-mises stress contour plots for cast aluminum material are presented in Fig. 8 and 9 respectively. As an alternative material for radiator blade, Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) is used to replace Cast Aluminum.

      FRP radiator fan shall be manufactured from isopthalic resin reinforced with a combination of E-glass unidirectional roving, chopped strand mat and woven roving either by RTM (resin transfer moulding) or compression moulding process. FRP radiator fan shall be

      free from, blowholes, pinholes, porosities etc. Catalyst pigment and accelerator should suit the above resin. The color of the pigment shall be either blue or green. The glass reinforcement used shall not be less than 35% in content.

      The above resin has been specified to obtain high tensile and flexural strength, in view of the fact that the standard deviation of tensile strength in FRP is very high. However the resin and reinforcement had to be chosen such that the mechanical properties specified in this specification are met. Fig.10 and 11 represent maximum deformation and von-mises stress contour plots for the considered alternative material Fiber reinforced plastic (FRP).

  2. The maximum deformations of the blade in Global X, Y, and Z directions for existing material and considered materials are presented in Table.2. The induced stresses are tabulated in Table.3. The marginal rise in stresses as well as deformations is observed in case of FRP. But the values are within the safe limits. To prevent the failure of blades due to environmental and other sundry reasons as discussed in article 3, FRP can be considered as suitable alternate material.


    Deformation in






    Cast Al,2014-T6










    Cast Iron,ASTM-A-48











    Maximum Stress

    in N/mm2




    Thrust direction

    Cast Al





    Cast Steel





    Cast Iron










The authors are grateful to Railway Engineering Department, DRM office, East Coast Railway, Visakhapatnam, for their kind cooperation in providing the necessary data regarding radiator blade and to Principal Director, Central Institute of Tool Design (CITD), Balanagar, Hyderabad, for providing the necessary CMM scanning facilities for reverse engineering the radiator blade.

  1. Pratt and White (1998), Comprehensive Structural Dynamic Analysis of the SSME/AT Fuel Pump First-Stage Turbine Blade.

  2. Ilker Tari, 3-D Simulation of Convection in Asymmetrically heated Turbine Blade Cooling Channels.

  3. Je Chin Han and Sandip Dutta, Recent Developments in Turbine Blade internal Cooling, Department of Mechanical Engineering , Texas University, U.S.A.

  4. Garbor Csaba (1998), Modeling Micro slip Friction Damping and its influence on Turbine Blade Vibrations.

  5. Patric B. Lawless, Advanced Multi Stage Blade Aerodynamics, Performance, Cooling and Heat Transfer.

  6. C.C. Chamis Probabilistic Evaluation of Blade Impact Damage, Prepared for the Air Force Structural Integrity Program Texas Dec, 2000.

  7. Lim. C. Menq, CMM Feature Accessibility and Path Generation pp 597-618.

  8. Weir. D. Bradley Wrap Around B-spline Surface Fitting to Digitized Data with Applications to Reverse Engineering, ASME Journal pp 323-330.

  9. Sobh. T, Owen. J .Jayenes , Industrial Inspection and Reverse Engineering ,pp 597- 618.

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