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 decrease in compressor performance.

In literature there are some studies related to the fouling phenomena in transonic compressors, but in industrial applications (heavy-duty compressors, pump stations, etc.) the subsonic compressors are widespread. It is highly important for the manufacturer to gather information about the fouling phenomenon related to this type of compressor.

This paper presents three-dimensional numerical simulations of the micro-particle ingestion (0.15 μm – 1.50 μm) in a multistage (i.e. eight stage) subsonic axial compressor, 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.

The adopted computational strategy allows the evaluation of particle deposition in a multistage axial compressor thanks to the use of a mixing plane approach to model the rotor/stator interaction. The compressor numerical model and the discrete phase model are set up and validated against the experimental and numerical data available in literature.

The number of particles and sizes are specified in order to perform a quantitative analysis of the particle impacts on the blade surface. The blade zones affected by particle impacts and the kinematic characteristics (velocity and angle) of the impact of micrometric and sub-micrometric particles with the blade surface are shown. Both blade zones affected 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 the fouling phenomenon.

The results show that micro-particles tend to follow the flow by impacting on the compressor blades at full span. The suction side of the blade is only affected by the impacts of the smallest particles. Particular fluid dynamic phenomena, such as corner separations and clearance vortices, strongly influence the impact location of the particles.

The impact and deposition trends decrease according to the stages. The front stages appear more affected by particle impact and deposition than the rear ones.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.