Configurator tool for the preliminary design of an electrostatic precipitator casing
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Konfiguraattorityökalu sähkösuodattimen kammion alustavaan suunnitteluun
In this thesis, we develop an easy-to-use configurator tool for an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) casing structure. Since the emergence of computers, numerous design software applications have been developed to aid with design calculations and to automate the design process. The software used for structural design usually focuses on either of the following: Estimating the structure’s response to loading via some numerical method and then comparing the internal loading to load limits provided by standards. Determining the loading conditions present based on location data and standards. Applications capable of both estimating the loading and then evaluating the structure’s response are rare and usually very product-specific. The loading acting on the ESP casing structure was analyzed via the approaches provided in the Eurocodes. These approaches were addressed on such level, that their intricacy meets the requirements of preliminary design phase. A mathematical model of the structure was formulated to suit the selected platform with its complexness and this model was further developed to a finite element model to evaluate the structure’s response to loading via stiffness matrix approach. The mathematical tools for solving the linear systems, such as Cholesky and LU -decompositions, were addressed to provide an overview of the configurator tool’s solving algorithm and it was found, both theoretically and in practice, that Cholesky factorization is drastically more efficient than direct inverse when solving sets of linear equations. The project resulted in a configurator tool for the ESP casing primary support structures, capable of evaluating casing’s loading conditions without excessive knowledge requirements from the user. The tool analyzes the structure’s response to loading and either selects required profiles based on maximum allowed utility ratio or checks the structure’s durability with user-provided profile selections. The tool utilizes finite element method based on beam elements, solves the set of linear equations efficiently and analyzes the utility of the structure based on the requirements set by Eurocodes. The dimensioning results were extensively benchmarked against commercial software with only minute deviation. Additionally, the selections made by the configurator were compared to those made by a structural engineer by looking at old projects. The selections proved to be very similar even when the tool was used with limited knowledge of the design rationale behind the existing products and thus the approach and execution was proven effective.