Recent advances in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) offer the possibility to predict condensing flows in 3D LP steam turbine geometries. Correct analysis of wetness losses, droplet deposition and other two-phase effects in LP steam turbines requires accurate prediction of the non-equilibrium flow field and droplet sizes.

The paper compares numerical results from a 3D, polydispersed, condensing flow CFD code to experimental data measured in a scaled model LP turbine for a range of operating conditions. In order to compare the computed efficiencies with the measured values, a method for averaging non-equilibrium flow fields has been developed. Comparisons are made between computational and experimental results for a series of inlet temperature variation tests where the inlet and exit pressures were kept constant. The steady calculations accurately predict the temperature that the primary nucleation zone moves to an upstream row. Furthermore, the mechanism of condensation as nucleation changes rows is explored and it is shown that initially a significant degree of subcooling is maintained in the inter-blade section and, as a result, nucleation occurs at a relatively low rate in a zone that extends far downstream of the blade’s trailing edge. This produces relatively large droplets compared to when nucleation occurs predominantly within the blade passage and is clearly visible in the measured module efficiencies and local flow angles, static pressures and light extinction. The measured variation of efficiency and specific work with inlet temperature is predicted accurately by the computations.

It is concluded that steady condensing flow wet-steam calculations are able to predict the location of nucleation and the variation of flow dynamics and performance with inlet temperature accurately. A description of the condensation process as nucleation moves between rows has been given and is consistent with the numerical and experimental results.

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