The evaluation of the blading clearance at the design stage is important for heavy duty gas turbine efficiency. The minimum clearance value at base load is limited by the pinch point clearance during startup and/or shutdown. Therefore, transient analysis is necessary for different operating conditions. 3D transient analysis of a whole engine is labor-intensive; however 2D axisymmetric analysis does not allow consideration of different 3D effects (e.g. twisting, bending, ovality, rotor alignment). In order to overcome these cost and time limitations, the combination of 2D, axisymmetric, whole-engine model results and the scaled deflections caused by different 3D effects is used for the axial and radial clearance engineering assessment during engine operation. The basic rotor and stator closures are taken from the transient analysis using a 2D finite element (FE) model composed of axisymmetric solid and plane stress elements. To take into account 3D effects of airfoil twisting and bending, the 3D FE displacements of the blade are included in the clearance evaluation process. The relative displacements of airfoil tip and reference point at the blade or vane hub are taken from 3D steady-state FE analyses. Then the steady-state displacements of the airfoils are scaled for transient conditions using the proposed technique. Different 3D rotor / stator effects (cold-build clearances and their tolerances, rotor position with respect to stator after assembly, casing bending, deformations of compressor and turbine vane carrier inducing of casing ovalization, exhaust gas housing movements, movements of the rotor in bearings and CVC and TVC support, etc.) are also included as a contributor to the clearances. The results of the calculations are analyzed and compared with good agreements to the clearances measured in engine testing under real operation conditions. The proposed methodology allows assessing the operating clearances between the stator and rotor during the design phase. Optimization of the running clearance is one key measure to upgrade and improve the engine performance during operating experience.

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