A novel leakage flow control strategy with honeycomb seal applied on the tip of the rotor blades in a highly-loaded turbine cascade is proposed. The numerical method is used to study the tip leakage flow in a highly-loaded turbine cascades with flat tip and with honeycomb seal structure, the mechanism of honeycomb tip on inhibiting leakage flow is analyzed, the influence of various relative gap heights is also been investigated. The discussions of the action of the honeycomb-tip structure in reducing leakage flow and improving the turbine efficiency provide the according for control methods of tip leakage flow.

Through the comparative study among three different tip structures of honeycomb tip, honeycomb casing and flat tip, the results show that both honeycomb tip and honeycomb casing inhibit the leakage flow effectively, but honeycomb tip has positive effect on reducing the flow loss in cascade. For the cascade with honeycomb tip, on one hand, the vortices rolled up in the regular hexagon honeycomb cavities dissipate the energy of the tip leakage flow, and the range of influence of the vortices is nearly one third of the tip clearance height. On the other hand, the radial jets caused by the honeycomb obstruct the tip leakage flow like a “pneumatic fence”, resulting in weaker leakage flow and less leakage flow rate. Besides, the honeycomb tip reduces the scale of the leakage vortex, thus the leakage loss also decreases. Compared with the flat tip cascade at the clearance height of 1%H, the honeycomb tip cascade with the same clearance height obtains decrease of the leakage flow rate and leakage flow speed in circumference by 10.16% and 20%. As a result, the leakage vortex in honeycomb tip cascade is undermined, the loss is reduced by nearly 4.43%.

Considering the abradable property of the honeycomb seal that can protect the blade tips from damage, the cascade with honeycomb tip structure can obtain a smaller clearance height and achieve better sealing effect. Compared to cascade with the flat tip at the clearance height of 2%H, the amount of leakage flow using inlet flow in the honeycomb tip cascades decreases by 17.33%, 36.63% and 54.79% at the clearance heights of 2%H, 1.5%H and 1%H, the losses related to the leakage flow is reduced by nearly 5.71%, 14.33% and 25.24%, respectively.

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