The marine gas turbine exhaust volute is an important component that connects a power turbine and an exhaust system, and it is of great importance to the overall performance of the gas turbine. Gases exhausted from the power turbine are expanded and deflected 90 degrees in the exhaust volute, and then discharge radially into the exhaust system. The flows in the power turbine and the nonaxisymmetric exhaust volute are closely coupled and inherently unsteady. The flow interactions between the power turbine and the exhaust volute have a significant influence on the shrouded rotor blade aerodynamic forces. However, the interactions have not been taken into account properly in current power turbine design approaches.
The present study aims to investigate the flow interactions between the last stage of a shrouded power turbine and the nonaxisymmetric exhaust volute with struts. Special attention is given to the coupled aerodynamics and pressure response studies. This work was carried out using coupled computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations with the computational domain including a stator vane, 76 shrouded rotor blades, 9 struts and an exhaust volute. Three-dimensional (3D) unsteady and steady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) solutions in conjunction with a Spalart-Allmaras turbulence model are utilized to investigate the aerodynamic characteristics of shrouded rotors and an exhaust volute using a commercial CFD software ANSYS Fluent 14.0. The asymmetric flow fields are analyzed in detail; as are the unsteady pressures on the shrouded rotor blade. In addition, the unsteady total pressures at the volute outlet is also analyzed without consideration of the upstream turbine effects.
Results show that the flows in the nonaxisymmetric exhaust volute are inherently unsteady; for the studied turbine-exhaust configuration the nonaxisymmetric back-pressure induced by the downstream volute leads to the local flow varying for each shrouded blade and low frequency fluctuations in the blade force. Detailed results from this investigation are presented and discussed in this paper.