An important goal of the development of turbine bladings is to increase the efficiency for an optimized use of energy resources. This necessitates the most possible insight into the complex flow phenomena in multi-stage turbine bladings. This paper presents a combined numerical and experimental investigation of the flow field in a 2-stage axial turbine with shrouded blades, where the axial gap between the shroud and the endwall is varied between 1mm (closed cavities) and 5 mm (opened cavities). In the experimental setup at the Institute of Steam and Gas Turbines, Aachen University, the turbine is operated at a low pressure ratio of 1.4 with an inlet pressure of 3.2 bar. The rotating speed is adjusted by a water brake, which is integrated into a swing frame running in hydrostatic bearings. The rotor power dissipates in the water brake, which enables a very accurate angular momentum determination. The mass flow is measured through a calibrated nozzle installed upstream of the turbine inlet at an accuracy of better than 1%, from which stage efficiencies can be derived. For both geometric configurations (open and closed shroud cavities), the flow field at both inlet and outlet is measured using 5-hole probes as well as temperature probes at three operating conditions. The test rig is especially designed to investigate the influence of the cavity size. Therefore, the radial gaps between shroud and casing is held near zero in order to prevent an axial flow through the cavities. The experimental results are used as boundary conditions for corresponding numerical multi-stage calculations of the 3D flow through the 2-stage turbine, using the highly accurate steady Navier-Stokes inhouse computer code, CHT-Flow. The flow field measurements and the numerical simulations give deeper insight into some of the cavity-related flow field phenomena. The measurement results as well as the simulations indicate that the stator leading edge has little influence on the inlet flow field. The flow through the shroud cavities has a significant influence on the field and therefore on the machine’s performance.

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