A theoretical model of an open combined cycle is researched in this paper. In this combined cycle, an inverse Brayton cycle is introduced into regenerative Brayton cycle by resorting to finite-time thermodynamics. The constraints of flow pressure drop and plant size are taken into account. Thirteen kinds of flow resistances in the cycle are calculated. On the one hand, four isentropic efficiencies are used to evaluate the friction losses in the blades and vanes. On the other hand, nine kinds of flow resistances are caused by the cross-section variances of flowing channels, which exist at the entrance of top cycle compressor (TCC), the entrance and exit of regenerator, the entrance and exit of combustion chamber, the exit of top cycle turbine, the exit of bottom cycle turbine, the entrance of heat exchanger, as well as the entrance of bottom cycle compressor (BCC). To analyze the thermodynamic indexes of power output, efficiency along with other coefficients, the analytical formulae of these indexes related to thirteen kinds of pressure drop losses are yielded. The thermodynamic performances are optimized by varying the cycle parameters. The numerical results reveal that the power output presents a maximal value when the air flow rate and entrance pressure of BCC change. In addition, the power output gets its double maximal value when the pressure ratio of TCC further changes. In the premise of constant flow rate of working fuel and invariant power plant size, the thermodynamic indexes can be optimized further when the flow areas of the components change. The effect of regenerator on thermal efficiency is further analyzed in detail. It is reported that better thermal efficiency can be procured by introducing the regenerator into the combined cycle in contrast with the counterpart without the regenerator as the cycle parameters change in the critical ranges.
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