Numerical techniques are commonly used during both design and analysis processes, mainly considering single components. Technological progress asks for advanced approaches that include real-machine conditions and analyze components interaction, especially considering the combustor/turbine coupling. Modern combustors operate with strong swirl motions in order to obtain an adequate flame stabilization, generating a very complex flow field characterized by high turbulence level. These aspects affect performance of downstream components which are subjected to very aggressive inlet flow conditions: non-uniform total temperature, non-uniform total pressure, swirl and high turbulence intensity. For these reasons coupled analysis of combustor and turbine is necessary to accurately predict aero-thermal aspects that influence performance and reliability of these two components.
From a numerical point of view the simulation of a single domain characterized by a reactive flow with very different Mach number regimes (from low-Mach flow in combustion chamber to transonic flow in turbine) is problematic due to the different numerical requirements needed, especially concerning stability and accuracy. These problems could be overcome using coupled methods to simultaneously simulate combustor and turbine in separated domains which are managed by different solvers that communicate with each other.
A coupling method for the study of combustor/turbine interaction using the RANS methodology is proposed. In the first part of the paper the method is described and validated. The second part is dedicated to the application of the proposed coupling methodology to a realistic test case consisting of a model annular combustor and the Nozzle Guide Vane (NGV) of the MT1 high-pressure turbine stage. A commercial solver and an in-house code are respectively used for the simulation of combustor and NGV.
Results are presented and analyzed highlighting the importance of such type of simulations in understanding aero-thermal phenomena that characterize combustor/vane interaction.