Research project

Structural response of a Francis runner during operation

Project Description

Hydro-electricity, the main renewable energy worldwide so far, represents 60% of the electricity produced in Canada. It is part of the solutions to ensure the quality of life of people and to preserve the environment. In the last 20 years, this energy production has evolved to accommodate market deregulation and the introduction of other intermittent renewable energy sources on the power grid. Hydraulic turbines must therefore be started and stopped much more often than they were intended for and must spend considerable time at off-design conditions where mechanical stresses are significantly higher than at best efficiency point. Those changes exacerbate structural problems leading to production losses and increased maintenance cost.

Major industrial players in the design and operation of large hydraulic turbines (Andritz Hydro, EDF, General Electric, Hydro Québec, Voith Hydro) have united their efforts in a project spearheaded by the Laboratory of Hydraulic Machines (LAMH) from Université Laval in collaboration with Polytechnique Montreal to tackle this problem. The Tr-FRANCIS research project aims at studying fluid-structure interactions during transient and no-load regimes in Francis turbines by combining numerical simulations with experimental measurements on scaled models of a real Francis turbine. This great research endeavour will train 3 postdoctoral researchers, 5 PhD and 10 MSc students between 2017 and 2022 in a stimulating environment.

We are currently looking for a PhD candidate for a project within the framework of Tr-FRANCIS. The main goal is to provide a better understanding of the structural behaviour of the runner during operation under normal, start-up and no-load condition. It will focus on the following specific objectives: 1) to develop and validate a method to characterize the structural behaviour of the runner in operation, 2) to characterize and analyze the structural behaviour of the runner for specific flow conditions and compare with its behaviour in still water.

The project is mostly experimental, although the PhD candidate will be involved in planning some numerical and theoretical work. The candidate will develop an experimental campaign to obtain the time-resolved components of the velocity fields within the model turbine usind stereoscopic TR-PIV. The PhD candidate will interact with the other students and researchers of Tr-FRANCIS as well as the industrial partners, and will have the chance to present his or her results. The sought candidate has a master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and has a strong background in vibrations and dynamics. Preferably, she/he has some experience in structural measurements. A PhD thesis lasts approximately four years. The candidate should be ready to start the project by September 2018.

Research Field

- Mechanical Engineering

Research Supervisor

Yves St-Amant

Research Environment

Université Laval - Faculty of Science and Engineering – Mechanical Engineering – Hydraulic Machines Laboratory (LAMH)

Web Site

Related Programs

Doctorate in Merchanical Engineering

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

$25000 per year for 4 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Graduate Studies Awards

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
Initial thesis submission
Total $8,500

*A $ 500 bonus will be added to the studentship for graduation if the initial deposit is made before the session that precedes the maximum qualifying session.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $30,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Mechanical Engineering

Requirements and Conditions

- To have or be about to complete a Master's degree with research thesis in Mechanical Engineering.
- To have a remarkable academic record.
- To have an interest and skills in experimental fluid mechanics.
- To demonstrate an ease for teamwork.

Required Documentation

- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript
- Recent publications (journal paper, thesis, school project report, etc.)

Find Out More

Yves St-Amant
Département de génie mécanique