This paper presents a computational investigation into the impact of cooling air injected through the stationary over-tip turbine casing on overall turbine efficiency. The high work axial flow turbine is representative of the high pressure turbine of a civil aviation turbofan engine. The effect of active modulation of the cooling air is assessed, as well as that of the injection locations. The influence of the through-casing coolant injection on the turbine blade over-tip leakage flow and the associated secondary flow features are examined. Transient (unsteady) sliding mesh simulations of a one turbine stage rotor-stator domain are performed using periodic boundary conditions. Cooling air configurations with a constant total pressure air supply, constant mass flow rate and actively controlled total pressure supply are assessed for a single geometric arrangement of cooling holes. The effects of both the mass flow rate of cooling air and the location of its injection relative to the turbine rotor blade are examined.
The results show that all of the assessed cooling configurations provided a benefit to turbine row efficiency of between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points. The passive and constant mass flow rate configurations reduced the over-tip leakage flow, but did so in an inefficient manner, with decreasing efficiency observed with increasing injection mass flow rate beyond 0.6% of the mainstream flow, despite the over-tip leakage mass flow rate continuing to reduce.
By contrast, the active total pressure controlled injection provided a more efficient manner of controlling this leakage flow, as it permitted a redistribution of cooling air, allowing it to be applied in the regions close to the suction side of the blade tip which more directly reduced over-tip leakage flow rates and hence improved efficiency. Cooling air injected close to the pressure side of the rotor blade was less effective at controlling the leakage flow, and was associated with increased aerodynamic loss in the passage vortex.