Gas turbines are widely used as the marine main power system with its higher power density, react quickly, such as LM2500 and MT30. However, it works under design conditions only during running times of 3% to 10%, and it works under part load during most of the time, leading to low efficiency, and it could not achieve full speed or braking at an instant if sudden emergencies happen. Variable geometry turbines can improve this condition by variable angle nozzle (VAN) technology. And, it could enhance engine braking ability, reduce the fuel consumption under part load, improve the aerodynamic performance of engines, enhance accelerating ability of engines, and implement stalling protection to the power turbine.

However, the VAN adjustment needs complicated regulating systems, which makes it difficult to turbine structural design, and leads to increased weight. Besides, there is a performance penalty associated with the vane-end part radial clearance required for the movement of variable vanes.

In order to increase the part load efficiency of an intercooled recuperated gas turbine, the power turbine is converted from fixed to variable geometry. And, in order to reduce the losses caused by the radial clearance both of vane ends while vane turning, spherical ends are introduced to keep the clearance constant at all turning angles, and the baseline clearance is 0.77% of blade span.

In order to determine the effects of VAN on aerodynamic performance of a variable vane, experimental investigations with a variable geometry turbine annular sector cascade have been conducted under five different turning angles (−6°, −3°, 0°, +5° and +10°) and three Mach numbers (0.3Ma, 0.5Ma and 0.6Ma). The parameter distributions were measured at cascade downstream by a five-hole probe and three-axis auto-traversing system, including outlet flow angle, total pressure loss coefficient, energy loss coefficient.

The sector measurement results show that, as the vane turning angle is changed from closed to open, the outlet flow angle are increased under all three test Mach number conditions, which affects the flow mismatching between variable vane and downstream row. And, the total pressure losses is increased with the turning angle changed from design to closed or open, and the total pressure loss increases much more when the vane is closed than when it is open. In addition, vane-end clearances have significantly effects on the flow field. Especially on the hub, the leakage loss is higher, that may be due to the adverse effect of intermediate turbine ducts. Detailed results about these are presented and discussed in the paper.

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