The first vane leading edge film cooling is challenging because of the highest thermal load and the complex flow interaction between the hot mainstream gas and the coolant flow. This interaction varies significantly from the stagnation region to the regions of high curvature and acceleration further downstream. Additionally, in industrial gas turbines with multiple combustor chambers around the annulus the first vane leading edges may also be exposed to large wake disturbances shed from the upstream combustor walls.
The influence of these vortical structures on the first vane leading edge film cooling is numerically analysed in this paper. In order to assess the capabilities of the flow solver TBLOCK to simulate these complex interactions an experimental test case is modelled numerically. The test case is available in the open literature and consists of a cylindrical leading edge and two rows of film cooling holes representative of industrial practice. A LES turbulence modelling strategy with WALE sub-grid scale (SGS) model is applied and compared against experimental results. Based on this validation it is decided to analyse also the wake–leading edge interaction, dominated by large scale unsteady vortical structures, using the same WALE sub-grid scale LES model. The initial flow domain with the cylindrical leading edge and cooling holes is extended to incorporate the effect of the combustor wall, which is modelled as a flat plate with a square trailing edge. The location and the size of the plate are scaled to be representative of industrial practice: the plate is located upstream from the leading edge at a distance twice the leading edge diameter, and the thickness of the plate is one half of the leading edge diameter. Two different clockwise positions of the vertical combustor wall model were investigated and compared with the datum configuration: the former where the axis of the plate and the leading edge are aligned (central wake location), the latter with the combustor wall circumferentially shifted up by a quarter of the leading edge diameter (circumferentially shifted wake location).
Numerical predictions show that the shed vortices from the combustor wall trailing edge have a highly detrimental effect on the leading edge film cooling by periodically removing the coolant flow from the leading edge surface. This results in an increased unsteady thermal load. These negative effects are less significant in the case of circumferentially shifted wake, due to the combined action of both shed vortices.