This work aims at investigating the impact of partial admission on a steam turbine stage, focusing on the aerodynamic performance and the mechanical behavior.
The partialized stage of a small steam turbine was chosen as test case. A block of nozzles was glued in a single “thick nozzle” in order to mimic the effect of a partial admission arc. Numerical analyses in full and in partial admission cases were carried out by means of three-dimensional, viscous, unsteady simulations. Several cases were tested by varying the admission rate, that is the length of the partial arc, and the number of active sectors of the wheel. The goal was to study the effect of partial admission conditions on the stage operation, and, in particular on the shape of stage performance curves as well as on the forces acting on bucket row.
First of all, a comparison between the flow field of the full and the partial admission case is presented, in order to point out the main aspects related to the presence of a partial arc. Then, from an aerodynamic point of view, a detailed discussion of the modifications of unsteady rows interaction (potential, shock/wake), and how these ones propagate downstream, is provided. The attention is focused on the phenomena experienced in the filling/emptying region, which represent an important source of aerodynamic losses. The results try to deepen the understanding in the loss mechanisms involved in this type of stage. Finally, some mechanical aspects are addressed, and the effects on bucket loading and on aeromechanical forcing are investigated.