Tip leakage loss characterization and modeling plays an important role in small size radial turbine research. The momentum of the flow passing through the tip gap is highly related with the tip leakage losses. The ratio of fluid momentum driven by the pressure gradient between suction side and pressure side and the fluid momentum caused by the shroud friction has been widely used to analyze and to compare different sized tip clearances. However, the commonly used number for building this momentum ratio lacks some variables, as the blade tip geometry data and the viscosity of the used fluid. To allow the comparison between different sized turbocharger turbine tip gaps, work has been put into finding a consistent characterization of radial tip clearance flow. Therefore, a non-dimensional number has been derived from the Navier Stokes Equation. This number can be calculated like the original ratio over the chord length. Using the results of wide range CFD data, the novel tip leakage number has been compared with the traditional and widely used ratio. Furthermore, the novel tip leakage number can be separated into three different non-dimensional factors. First, a factor dependent on the radial dimensions of the tip gap has been found. Second, a factor defined by the viscosity, the blade loading, and the tip width has been identified. Finally, a factor that defines the coupling between both flow phenomena. These factors can further be used to filter the tip gap flow, obtained by CFD, with the influence of friction driven and pressure driven momentum flow.

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