Secondary flows and leakage flows lead to complex vortex structures in the flow field inside the passages of the vanes and blades in turbo machines. These result in aerodynamic losses and, thus, reduced efficiency. One of the major vortex structures is the tip clearance vortex, which is generated on the airfoil’s suction side due to the leakage flow through the tip clearance, e.g. between rotating blades and casing. This leakage flow is induced by the pressure difference between pressure and suction side. The tip clearance vortex intensity strongly depends on the amount of tip clearance leakage. Thus, the reduction of this leakage mass flow increases the aerodynamic efficiency of a turbo-machine. In gas turbines, two ways are commonly used to influence the tip leakage flow: contouring of the radial gap either at blade tip or endwall, or changing the blade tip geometry by application of squealers or winglets on the blade tip. In this paper, a numerical investigation on the principle physics of a specific blade tip design is presented. On the pressure side the blades are extended in the tip region comparable to winglets (“hook-shaped”). With this change, the structures of the flow entering the gap between blade tip and casing are influenced to achieve a reduction of the mass flow in the radial gap. In this approach, the contour of the blade on the pressure side surface is shaped smoothly so that only a low increase of the local stresses should be expected and the blade is manufactured in one part. Furthermore, the height of the tip clearance is not affected. The new blade tip design is applied to 2nd and 3rd blade of the axial turbine in a test configuration of a KHI industrial gas turbine. Thus, a multi-stage numerical approach has been selected for the numerical investigation. The numerical model includes the flow path, vanes and blades of the 2nd and 3rd stage. The mixing plane technique is used to couple the blocks computed in stationary system of reference and rotating system of reference. The aerodynamic efficiency of the new designed blade tip in the two-stage arrangement is compared to the original design. It shows that a slight increase can be achieved in the static polytropic efficiency of the turbine configuration. The influence of the new design on the flow structures in the tip clearance region of the blades is analysed in detail to explain the mechanisms that cause the efficiency increase.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.