Swirl cooling is a very efficient method for turbine blade cooling. However, the flow in such a system is quite complicated. In order to gain understanding of the flow structure, the velocity field in a leading edge swirl cooling chamber with two tangential inlet ducts is experimentally studied via Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). The examined swirl tube is 1 m long and has a diameter of 50 mm. It represents an upscaled generic model of a leading edge swirl chamber. The Reynolds number, defined by the bulk velocity and the swirl tube diameter, ranges from 10,000 to 40,000, and the swirl number is 5.3. Velocity fields are measured in the center plane of the tube axis with stereo- and tomographic-PIV using two and four CCD cameras respectively. Tomographic-PIV is a three-dimensional PIV technique relying on the illumination, recording, reconstruction and cross correlation of a tracer particle distribution in a measurement volume opposed to a plane in stereo-PIV. For statistical analysis 2,000 vector maps are calculated and evaluations show a sample size of 1,000 ensembles is sufficient. Our experiment showed, that the flow field is characterized by a vortex system around the tube axis. Near the tube wall we observed an axial flow towards the outlet with a circumferential velocity component in the same order of magnitude. In contrast the vortex core consists of an axial backflow (vortex breakdown). The gained understanding of the flow field allows to predict regions of enhanced heat transfer in swirl chambers.

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