Modern Lean Burn combustors generate a complex field at the High Pressure turbine (HPT) inlet, characterized by non-uniform velocity and temperature distributions, together with very high turbulence levels (up to 25%). For these extreme conditions, classical numerical methods employed for the HPT design, such as Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) simulation, suffer from a lack of validation. This leads to a reduced confidence in predicting the combustor-turbine interactions, which requires to use extra safety margins, to the detriment of the overall engine performance.
Within the European FACTOR project, a 360° non reactive combustor simulator and a 1.5 HPT stage are designed to get more insight into the mutual interaction of these two components. A first experimental and numerical campaign has demonstrated the potential of Large Eddy Simulations (LES) to accurately reproduce the turbulent flow field development at the combustor outlet.
The aim of the present paper is to exploit the accuracy of LES to validate less time-consuming RANS models in predicting the hot streak migration in the turbine stage. In this sense, LES results are used as a reference to discriminate the different RANS simulations in terms of turbulence modeling and aerothermal predictions.
The current investigations clearly indicate that turbulence and hot streak diffusion within the HPT are strongly linked. In this sense, the choice of the RANS turbulence model and the inlet turbulent conditions plays a major role in modeling the thermal behavior for the stator and rotor blades.