In the frame of the European research project RECORD, the flow field within a HP axial-flow turbine model was investigated experimentally for several operating conditions. A number of studies on stator-rotor interaction in HP turbines for subsonic as well as transonic/supersonic conditions were proposed in the last decades, but none of them compared different conditions for the same geometry. In this paper, the transonic condition is investigated and compared to three subsonic ones, in the frame of an entirely new experimental campaign. The research was performed at the Laboratorio di Fluidodinamica delle Macchine of the Politecnico di Milano (Italy), where a cold-flow, closed-loop test rig is available for detailed studies on turbines and compressors. The boundary conditions resulted in keeping constant both the turbine inlet temperature and the stage outlet absolute flow direction; so far, while the expansion ratio was varied, the rotational speed was also modified accordingly.

The analysis was performed by means of a conventional five hole probe in the stator – rotor axial gap and by a fast response aerodynamic probe downstream of the rotor. The local time-averaged and phase-resolved flow field was then derived and used to analyze the stage aerodynamics and performance.

Results show that the stage expansion ratio has a dramatic impact on both the rotor aerodynamics and stage performance. In particular, Mach number effects are recognized in the stator cascade that passes from transonic to low subsonic conditions. On the rotor cascade the reduction of expansion ratio reduces significantly the Mach and Reynolds numbers and increases the incidence angle as well; the rotor loss mechanics as well as the vane-rotor interaction are greatly amplified. Correspondingly a significant variation of stage overall efficiency is recorded.

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