This paper presents the results of experimental and numerical investigations into the flow in a 1.5-stage low-speed axial turbine with a straight labyrinth seal on the rotor shroud. The paper focuses on the time dependent interaction between the leakage flow and the main flow. The experimental program consists of time accurate measurements of the three-dimensional properties of the main flow. The region of the entering leakage flow downstream of the rotor trailing edge was of special interest. The measurements were carried out using pneumatic five-hole probes and three dimensional hot-wire probes at the design operating point of the turbine. The measurement planes behind the three blade rows extend over one pitch from the shroud to the casing. The complex three-dimensional flow field is mapped in great detail by 1,008 points per measurement plane. The time-accurate experimental data of the three measurement planes was compared with the results of unsteady, numerical simulations of the turbine flow. The 3D-Navier-Stokes Solver CFX-TASCflow was used. The experimental and numerical results correspond well and allow detailed analysis of the mixing process. As demonstrated in this paper, the leakage flow causes strong fluctuations of the secondary flow behind the rotor and the second stator. Above all, the high number of numerical grid points reveals both the secondary flow phenomena and the vortex structures of the mixing zone. The time-dependence of both position and intensity of the vortices is shown. The development of the important leakage vortex is illustrated and explained. The paper shows that even at realistic clearance heights the leakage flow gives rise to negative incidence of considerable parts of the downstream stator which causes the flow to separate. Thus, labyrinth seal leakage flow should be taken properly into account in the design or optimization process of turbomachinery.

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