During extreme low volume flow conditions, the last stages of a low pressure steam turbine operate in ventilation conditions that can cause a significant temperature increase of critical regions of the last stage moving blade. Under some conditions, the blade temperature may rise above a safe operating temperature, requiring the machine to be shut down. Limiting the heating effect on the last stage moving blade increases the allowable operating range of the low pressure turbine. One common method is to spray water droplets into the low pressure exhaust. As the length of last stage moving blades continues to increase, this method reaches its limit of practical operating effectiveness due to the amount of water required and its impact on the erosion of the LSB.

An investigation into complimentary solutions to limit the temperature increase was conducted using CFD. An appropriate CFD setup was chosen from a sensitivity study on the effect of geometry, mesh density, turbulence model and time dependency. The CFD results were verified against steam turbine data from a test facility. The proposed complimentary solutions to limit the temperature increase include low temperature steam extraction, targeted for critical regions of the moving blade. From the test turbine and CFD results, the drivers of the temperature increase during ventilation conditions are identified and described.

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