Modern lean burn aero-engine combustors make use of relevant swirl degrees for flame stabilization. Moreover important temperature distortions are generated, in tangential and radial directions, due to discrete fuel injection and liner cooling flows respectively. At the same time, more efficient devices are employed for liner cooling and a less intense mixing with the mainstream occurs. As a result, aggressive swirl fields, high turbulence intensities and strong hot streaks are achieved at the turbine inlet. In order to understand combustor-turbine flow field interactions, it is mandatory to collect reliable experimental data at representative flow conditions. While the separated effects of temperature, swirl and turbulence on the first turbine stage have been widely investigated, reduced experimental data is available when it comes to consider all these factors together.
In this perspective, an annular three-sector combustor simulator with fully cooled high pressure vanes has been designed and installed at the THT Lab of University of Florence. The test rig is equipped with three axial swirlers, effusion cooled liners and six film cooled high pressure vanes passages, for a vortex-to-vane count ratio of 1:2. The relative clocking position between swirlers and vanes has been chosen in order to have the leading edge of the central NGV aligned with the central swirler.
In order to generate representative conditions, a heated mainstream passes though the axial swirlers of the combustor simulator, while the effusion cooled liners are fed by air at ambient temperature. The resulting flow field exiting from the combustor simulator and approaching the cooled vane can be considered representative of a modern Lean Burn aero engine combustor with swirl angles above ±50°, turbulence intensities up to about 28% and maximum-to-minimum temperature ratio of about 1.25. With the final aim of investigating the hot streaks evolution through the cooled high pressure vane, the mean aerothermal field (temperature, pressure and velocity fields) has been evaluated by means of a five hole probe equipped with a thermocouple and traversed upstream and downstream of the NGV cascade.