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research-article

Capturing Radial Mixing in Axial Compressors with CFD

[+] Author and Article Information
Lorenzo Cozzi

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Lorenzo.Cozzi@unifi.it

Filippo Rubechini

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Filippo.Rubechini@unifi.it

Matteo Giovannini

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Matteo.Giovannini@unifi.it

Michele Marconcini

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Michele.Marconcini@unifi.it

Andrea Arnone

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Via di Santa Marta 3, 50139 Firenze, Italy
Andrea.Arnone@unifi.it

Andrea Schneider

Ansaldo Energia, Via Lorenzi 8, 16152 Genova, Italy
Andrea.Schneider@ansaldoenergia.com

Pio Astrua

Ansaldo Energia, Via Lorenzi 8, 16152 Genova, Italy
Pio.Astrua@ansaldoenergia.co

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041738 History: Received August 03, 2018; Revised October 12, 2018

Abstract

The current industrial standard for numerical simulations of axial compressors is the steady RANS approach. Besides the well-known limitations of mixing planes, namely their inherent inability to capture the potential interaction and the wakes from the upstream blades, there is another flow feature which is lost, and which is a major accountable for the radial mixing: the transport of streamwise vorticity. Streamwise vorticity is generated for various reasons, mainly associated with secondary and tip-clearance flows. A strong link exists between the strain field associated with the vortices and the mixing augmentation: the strain field increases both the area available for mixing and the local gradients in fluid properties, which provide the driving potential for the mixing. In the rear compressor stages, due to high clearances and low aspect ratios, only accounting for the development of secondary and clearance flow structures it is possible to properly predict the spanwise mixing. In this work, the results of steady and unsteady simulations on a heavy-duty axial compressor are compared with experimental data. Adopting an unsteady framework, the enhanced mixing in the rear stages is properly captured, in remarkable agreement with experimental distributions. On the contrary, steady analyses strongly underestimate the radial transport. It is inferred that the streamwise vorticity associated with clearance flows is a major driver of radial mixing, and restraining it by pitch-averaging the flow at mixing planes is the reason why the steady approach cannot predict the radial transport in the rear part of the compressor.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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