In heavy-duty gas turbines as well as in aero-engines, air is extracted from the compressor and led to the hot parts of the combustor and the turbine in order to cool them. Despite active design solutions such as material selection, and inclusion of compressor inlet filters, dust holes, and so on, the cooling air can be charged with solid particles, which can block the cooling holes. Therefore prediction of the particle behaviour within the secondary air system remains crucial for the design of a robust and efficient cooling system for the hot parts.

For this study a particle separator prototype was designed by Alstom and its particle separation efficiency together with its total pressure losses were measured at the Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery (ITS) at the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT) for two geometrical configurations and numerous flow conditions. The test rig design was optimized to provide accurate boundary conditions for the simulations. In addition, the influence of the particle shape, size, and density on the separation efficiency was studied.

The experimental results were used to validate the predicted flow field and to evaluate standard methods available in a commercial CFD-solver, to simulate the interaction of solid particles with turbulent flows and the containing walls. Comparisons between the measured and calculated separation efficiencies were performed for spherical and flat particles with different Stokes numbers. In particular, the way in which a simple modelling approach used for the prediction of sphere trajectories can be transferred to flat particles was investigated. Finally this study delivers generic data for improved modelling of solid particles, like spheres and flat particles, in turbulent flows.

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