J. Turbomach. 2003;127(4):649-658. doi:10.1115/1.2006667.

Endwall losses significantly contribute to the overall losses in modern turbomachinery, especially when aerodynamic airfoil load and pressure ratios are increased. In turbines with shrouded airfoils a large portion of these losses are generated by the leakage flow across the shroud clearance. Generally the related losses can be grouped into losses of the leakage flow itself and losses caused by the interaction with the main flow in subsequent airfoil rows. In order to reduce the impact of the leakage flow and shroud design related losses a thorough understanding of the leakage losses and especially of the losses connected to enhancing secondary flows and other main flow interactions has to be understood. Therefore, a three stage LP turbine typical for jet engines is being investigated. For the three-stage test turbine 3D Navier-Stokes computations are performed simulating the turbine including the entire shroud cavity geometry in comparison with computations in the ideal flow path. Numerical results compare favorably against measurements carried out at the high altitude test facility at Stuttgart University. The differences of the simulations with and without shroud cavities are analyzed for several points of operation and a very detailed quantitative loss breakdown is presented.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2005;127(4):659-667. doi:10.1115/1.2019276.

Prediction of flow field and heat transfer of high rotation numbers and density ratio flow in a square internal cooling channels of turbine blades with U-turn as tested by Wagner (ASME J. Turbomach., 113, pp. 42–51, 1991) is the main focus of this study. Rotation, buoyancy, and strong curvature affect the flow within these channels. Due to the fact that RSM turbulence model can respond to the effects of rotation, streamline curvature and anisotropy without the need for explicit modeling, it is employed for this study as it showed improved prediction compared to isotropic two-equation models. The near wall region was modeled using enhanced wall treatment approach. The Reynolds Stress Model (RSM) was validated against available experimental data (which are primarily at low rotation and buoyancy numbers). The model was then used for cases with high rotation numbers (as much as 1.29) and high-density ratios (up to 0.4). Particular attention is given to how secondary flow, velocity and temperature profiles, turbulence intensity, and Nusselt number area affected by Coriolis and buoyancy/centrifugal forces caused by high levels of rotation and buoyancy in the immediate vicinity of the bend. The results showed that four-side-average Nu, similar to low Ro cases, increases linearly by increasing rotation number and, unlike low Ro cases, decreases slightly by increasing density ratio.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):668-678. doi:10.1115/1.2008972.

A unique comparative experimental and numerical investigation carried out on two test cases with shroud configurations, differing only in the labyrinth seal path, is presented in this paper. The blade geometry and tip clearance are identical in the two test cases. The geometries under investigation are representative of an axial turbine with a full and partial shroud, respectively. Global performance and flow field data were acquired and analyzed. Computational simulations were carried out to complement the investigation and to facilitate the analysis of the steady and unsteady flow measurements. A detailed comparison between the two test cases is presented in terms of flow field analysis and performance evaluation. The analysis focuses on the flow effects reflected on the overall performance in a multi-stage environment. Strong interaction between the cavity flow and the blade tip region of the rotor blades is observed up to the blade midspan. A marked effect of this interaction can be seen in the downstream second stator where different vortex structures are observed. Moreover, in the partial shroud test case, a strong tip leakage vortex is developed from the first rotor and transported through the downstream blade row. A measurable change in the second stage efficiency was observed between the two test cases. In low aspect ratio blades within a multi-stage environment, small changes in the cavity geometry can have a significant effect on the mainstream flow. The present analysis has shown that an integrated and matched blade-shroud aerodynamic design has to be adopted to reach optimal performances. The additional losses resulting from small variations of the sealing geometry could result in a gain of up to one point in the overall stage efficiency.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2003;127(4):679-688. doi:10.1115/1.2008973.

This paper focuses on the flow within the inlet cavity of a turbine rotor tip labyrinth seal of a two stage axial research turbine. Highly resolved, steady and unsteady three-dimensional flow data are presented. The probes used here are a miniature five-hole probe of 0.9 mm head diameter and the novel virtual four sensor fast response aerodynamic probe (FRAP) with a head diameter of 0.84mm. The cavity flow itself is not only a loss producing area due to mixing and vortex stretching, it also adversely affects the following rotor passage through the fluid that is spilled into the main flow. The associated fluctuating mass flow has a relatively low total pressure and results in a negative incidence to the rotor tip blade profile section. The dominating kinematic flow feature in the region between cavity and main flow is a toroidal vortex, which is swirling at high circumferential velocity. It is fed by strong shear and end wall fluid from the pressure side of the stator passage. The static pressure field interaction between the moving rotor leading edges and the stator trailing edges is one driving force of the cavity flow. It forces the toroidal vortex to be stretched in space and time. A comprehensive flow model including the drivers of this toroidal vortex is proposed. This labyrinth seal configuration results in about 1.6% turbine efficiency reduction. This is the first in a series of papers focusing on turbine loss mechanisms in shrouded axial turbines. Additional measurements have been made with variations in seal clearance gap. Initial indications show that variation in the gap has a major effect on flow structures and turbine loss.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):689-698. doi:10.1115/1.1860374.

A full annulus fluidic flow-controlled compressor stator ring was designed and tested in the third stage of a four-stage low-speed research compressor. The solidity of the flow-controlled stator was near unity and significantly below design practice with a commensurately high diffusion factor. The design intent was to reduce the vane count by 30% and load the stator to the point of stall at the design point, then employ flow control to restore attached boundary layers and regain design-point stage matching. The flow control applied, which maintained attached flow, was 1% of the compressor mass flow and was introduced via discrete steady jets on the suction side of the stator. The design method used steady Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) with the flow control jets simulated to drive stator exit angles, velocities, and blockage to match the baseline machine. The experiment verified the pretest predictions and demonstrated degraded compressor performance without flow control and restoration of the pumping characteristics of the baseline high solidity compressor when flow control was applied. An assessment of the engine cycle impact of the flow-controlled compressor shows a 2.1 point stage efficiency reduction for the increased loading. Extrapolation of the data and analysis to a high-speed compressor shows a more modest 0.5 point stage efficiency trade.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2005;127(4):699-707. doi:10.1115/1.1934263.

This paper presents time-resolved flow field measurements at the exit of the first rotor blade row of a two stage shrouded axial turbine. The observed unsteady interaction mechanism between the secondary flow vortices, the rotor wake and the adjacent blading at the exit plane of the first turbine stage is of prime interest and analyzed in detail. The results indicate that the unsteady secondary flows are primarily dominated by the rotor hub passage vortex and the shed secondary flow field from the upstream stator blade row. The analysis of the results revealed a roll-up mechanism of the rotor wake layer into the rotor indigenous passage vortex close to the hub endwall. This interesting mechanism is described in a flow schematic within this paper. In a second measurement campaign the first stator blade row is clocked by half a blade pitch relative to the second stator in order to shift the relative position of both stator indigenous secondary flow fields. The comparison of the time-resolved data for both clocking cases showed a surprising result. The steady flow profiles for both cases are nearly identical. The analysis of the probe pressure signal indicates a high level of unsteadiness that is due to the periodic occurrence of the shed first stator secondary flow field.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):708-717. doi:10.1115/1.2008970.

A computational study is carried out to understand the physical mechanism responsible for the improvement in stall margin of an axial flow rotor due to the circumferential casing grooves. Computational fluid dynamics simulations show an increase in operating range of the low speed rotor in the presence of casing grooves. A budget of the axial momentum equation is carried out at the rotor casing in the tip gap in order to understand the physical process behind this stall margin improvement. It is shown that for the smooth casing the net axial pressure force at the rotor casing in the tip gap is balanced by the net axial shear stress force. However, for the grooved casing the net axial shear stress force acting at the casing is augmented by the axial force due to the radial transport of axial momentum, which occurs across the grooves and power stream interface. This additional force adds to the net axial viscous shear force and thus leads to an increase in the stall margin of the rotor.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2005;127(4):718-725. doi:10.1115/1.2019315.

This study evaluates the impact of typical cooling hole shape variations on the thermal performance of fan-shaped film holes. A comprehensive set of experimental test cases featuring 16 different film-cooling configurations with different hole shapes have been investigated. The shape variations investigated include hole inlet-to-outlet area ratio, hole coverage ratio, hole pitch ratio, hole length, and hole orientation (compound) angle. Flow conditions applied cover a wide range of film blowing ratios M=0.5 to 2.5 at an engine-representative density ratio DR=1.7. An infrared thermography data acquisition system is used for highly accurate and spatially resolved surface temperature mappings. Accurate local temperature data are achieved by an in situ calibration procedure with the help of thermocouples embedded in the test plate. Detailed film-cooling effectiveness distributions and discharge coefficients are used for evaluating the thermal performance of a row of fan-shaped film holes. An extensive variation of the main geometrical parameters describing a fan-shaped film-cooling hole is done to cover a wide range of typical film-cooling applications in current gas turbine engines. Within the range investigated, laterally averaged film-cooling effectiveness was found to show only limited sensitivity from variations of the hole geometry parameters. This offers the potential to tailor the hole geometry according to needs beyond pure cooling performance, e.g., manufacturing facilitations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):726-735. doi:10.1115/1.1934429.

An experimental capability using an in-ground spin-pit facility specifically designed to investigate aeromechanic phenomena for gas turbine engine hardware rotating at engine speed is demonstrated herein to obtain specific information related to prediction and modeling of blade-casing interactions. Experiments are designed to allow insertion of a segment of engine casing into the path of single-bladed or multiple-bladed disks. In the current facility configuration, a 90deg sector of a representative engine casing is forced to rub the tip of a single-bladed compressor disk for a selected number of rubs with predetermined blade incursion into the casing at rotational speeds in the vicinity of 20,000rpm.

Topics: Engines , Blades , Stress
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):736-746. doi:10.1115/1.1934410.

The unsteady aero-dynamics of a single-stage high-pressure turbine blade operating at design corrected conditions has been the subject of a thorough study involving detailed measurements and computations. The experimental configuration consisted of a single-stage high-pressure turbine and the adjacent, downstream, low-pressure turbine nozzle row. All three blade-rows were instrumented at three spanwise locations with flush-mounted, high-frequency response pressure transducers. The rotor was also instrumented with the same transducers on the blade tip and platform and the stationary shroud was instrumented with pressure transducers at specific locations above the rotating blade. Predictions of the time-dependent flow field around the rotor were obtained using MSU-TURBO, a three-dimensional (3D), nonlinear, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code. Using an isolated blade-row unsteady analysis method, the unsteady surface pressure for the high-pressure turbine rotor due to the upstream high-pressure turbine nozzle was calculated. The predicted unsteady pressure on the rotor surface was compared to the measurements at selected spanwise locations on the blade, in the recessed cavity, and on the shroud. The rig and computational models included a flat and recessed blade tip geometry and were used for the comparisons presented in the paper. Comparisons of the measured and predicted static pressure loading on the blade surface show excellent correlation from both a time-average and time-accurate standpoint. This paper concentrates on the tip and shroud comparisons between the experiments and the predictions and these results also show good correlation with the time-resolved data. These data comparisons provide confidence in the CFD modeling and its ability to capture unsteady flow physics on the blade surface, in the flat and recessed tip regions of the blade, and on the stationary shroud.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2004;127(4):747-754. doi:10.1115/1.1934446.

This paper presents the effect of a single spanwise two-dimensional wire upon the downstream position of boundary layer transition under steady and unsteady inflow conditions. The study is carried out on a high turning, high-speed, low pressure turbine (LPT) profile designed to take account of the unsteady flow conditions. The experiments were carried out in a transonic cascade wind tunnel to which a rotating bar system had been added. The range of Reynolds and Mach numbers studied includes realistic LPT engine conditions and extends up to the transonic regime. Losses are measured to quantify the influence of the roughness with and without wake passing. Time resolved measurements such as hot wire boundary layer surveys and surface unsteady pressure are used to explain the state of the boundary layer. The results suggest that the effect of roughness on boundary layer transition is a stability governed phenomena, even at high Mach numbers. The combination of the effect of the roughness elements with the inviscid Kelvin–Helmholtz instability responsible for the rolling up of the separated shear layer (Stieger, R. D., 2002, Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge University) is also examined. Wake traverses using pneumatic probes downstream of the cascade reveal that the use of roughness elements reduces the profile losses up to exit Mach numbers of 0.8. This occurs with both steady and unsteady inflow conditions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2005;127(4):755-762. doi:10.1115/1.2019217.

The authors have been investigating the various characteristics of screw-type centrifugal pumps, such as pressure fluctuations in impellers, flow patterns in volute casings, and pump performance in air-water two-phase flow conditions. During these investigations, numerical results of our investigations made it clear that three back flow regions existed in this type of pump. Among these, the back flow from the volute casing toward the impeller outlet was the most influential on the pump performance. Thus the most important factor to achieve higher pump performance was to reduce the influence of this back flow. One simple method was proposed to obtain the restraint of back flow and so as to improve the pump performance. This method was to set up a ringlike wall at the suction cover casing between the impeller outlet and the volute casing. Its effects on the flow pattern and the pump performance have been discussed and clarified to compare the calculated results with experimental results done under two conditions, namely, one with and one without this ring-type wall. The influence of wall’s height on the pump head was investigated by numerical simulations. In addition, the difference due to the wall’s effect was clarified to compare its effects on two kinds of volute casing. From the results obtained it can be said that restraining the back flow of such pumps was very important to achieve higher pump performance. Furthermore, another method was suggested to restrain back flow effectively. This method was to attach a wall at the trailing edge of impeller. This method was very useful for avoiding the congestion of solids because this wall was smaller than that used in the first method. The influence of these factors on the pump performance was also discussed by comparing simulated calculations with actual experiments.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2005;127(4):763-770. doi:10.1115/1.2019247.

The focus of this paper is the impact of manufacturing variability on turbine blade cooling flow and, subsequently, its impact on oxidation life. A simplified flow network model of the cooling air supply system and a row of blades is proposed. Using this simplified model, the controlling parameters which affect the distribution of cooling flow in a blade row are identified. Small changes in the blade flow tolerances (prior to assembly of the blades into a row) are shown to have a significant impact on the minimum flow observed in a row of blades resulting in substantial increases in the life of a blade row. A selective assembly method is described in which blades are classified into a low-flow and a high-flow group based on passage flow capability (effective areas) in life-limiting regions and assembled into rows from within the groups. Since assembling rows from only high-flow blades is equivalent to raising the low-flow tolerance limit, high-flow blade rows will have the same improvements in minimum flow and life that would result from more stringent tolerances. Furthermore, low-flow blade rows are shown to have minimum blade flows which are the same or somewhat better than a low-flow blade that is isolated in a row of otherwise higher-flowing blades. As a result, low-flow blade rows are shown to have lives that are no worse than random assembly from the full population. Using a higher fidelity model for the auxiliary air system of an existing jet engine, the impact of selective assembly on minimum blade flow and life of a row is estimated and shown to be in qualitative and quantitative agreement with the simplified model analysis.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster


Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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