Performance Improvement Through Indexing of Turbine Airfoils: Part 1—Experimental Investigation

[+] Author and Article Information
F. W. Huber, P. D. Johnson

Pratt & Whitney, Technical, West Palm Beach, FL 33410

O. P. Sharma, J. B. Staubach

Pratt & Whitney, Technical, East Hartford, CT 06108

S. W. Gaddis

National Aeronautics & Space Administration, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35812

J. Turbomach 118(4), 630-635 (Oct 01, 1996) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2840918 History: Online January 29, 2008


This paper describes the results of a study to determine the performance improvements achievable by circumferentially indexing successive rows of turbine stator airfoils. An experimental/analytical investigation has been completed that indicates significant stage efficiency increases can be attained through application of this airfoil clocking concept. A series of tests was conducted at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) to experimentally investigate stator wake clocking effects on the performance of the Space Shuttle Main Engine Alternate Fuel Turbopump Turbine Test Article. Extensive time-accurate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations have been completed for the test configurations. The CFD results provide insight into the performance improvement mechanism. Part one of this paper describes details of the test facility, rig geometry, instrumentation, and aerodynamic operating parameters. Results of turbine testing at the aerodynamic design point are presented for six circumferential positions of the first stage stator, along with a description of the initial CFD analyses performed for the test article. It should be noted that first vane positions 1 and 6 produced identical first to second vane indexing. Results obtained from off-design testing of the “best” and “worst” stator clocking positions, and testing over a range of Reynolds numbers are also presented. Part two of this paper describes the numerical simulations performed in support of the experimental test program described in part one. Time-accurate Navier–Stokes flow analyses have been completed for the five different turbine stator positions tested. Details of the computational procedure and results are presented. Analysis results include predictions of instantaneous and time-average midspan airfoil and turbine performance, as well as gas conditions throughout the flow field. An initial understanding of the turbine performance improvement mechanism is described.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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