Solid particle ingestion is one of the principal degradation mechanisms in the compressor and turbine sections of gas turbines. In particular, in industrial applications, the micro-particles not captured by the air filtration system can cause deposits on blading and, consequently, result in a performance drop of the compressor.
This paper presents three-dimensional numerical simulations of the micro-particle ingestion (0.15 μm – 1.50 μm) in a transonic axial compressor stage, carried out by means of a commercial computational fluid dynamic code. Particles of this size can follow the main air flow with relatively little slip, while being impacted by flow turbulence. It is of great interest to the industry to determine which zones of the compressor blades are impacted by these small particles. Particle trajectory simulations use a stochastic Lagrangian tracking method that solves the equations of motion separately from the continuous phase.
A particular computational strategy is adopted in order to take into account the presence of two subsequent annular cascades (rotor and stator) in the case of particle ingestion. The proposed strategy allows the evaluation of particle deposition in an axial compressor stage thanks to its capability of accounting for the rotor/stator interaction. NASA Stage 37 is considered as a case study for the numerical investigation. The compressor stage numerical model and the discrete phase model are set up and validated against the experimental and numerical data available in literature.
The blade zones affected by particle impact and the kinematic characteristics of the impact of micrometric and sub-micrometric particles with the blade surface are shown. Both blade zones interested by particle impact and deposition are analyzed.
The particle deposition is established by using the quantity called sticking probability, adopted from literature. The sticking probability links the kinematic characteristics of particle impact on the blade with fouling phenomenon.
The results show that micro-particles tend to follow the flow by impacting at full span with a higher impact concentration on the pressure side of rotor blade and stator vane. Both rotor blade and stator vane suction side are affected only by the impact of smaller particles (up to 1 μm). Particular fluid dynamic phenomena, such as separation, shock waves and tip leakage vortex, strongly influence the impact location of the particles. The kinematic analysis shows a high tendency of particle adhesion on the suction side of the rotor blade, especially for particles with a diameter equal to 0.15 μm.