Performance optimization of low pressure steam turbine exhaust hood has been a subject of a number of both numerical and experimental studies. This is driven by the understanding that improving the diffuser and exhaust hood outer casing performance results in a lower turbine back pressure and hence an increased plant overall output.

The performance of the exhaust hood is greatly influenced by many structural factors such as the size of its outer casing, design of the diffuser parts and the arrangement of the internal supports.

A number of studies have shown that a decrease of the hood height is detrimental to the exhaust hood performance [1, 2], however, up to now the impact of increased hood height has not been researched. In the present study, a scaled axial-radial diffuser test rig operated by ITSM is used as reference configuration for a parameter study. A total of fourteen different configurations with both increased and reduced hood height are investigated numerically. Design load at three different tip jet Mach numbers (no tip jet, tip jet Mach number of 0.4 and 1.2) is chosen as operating condition. Numerical and experimental data is available for the reference configuration and the numerical results have already been validated in a previous paper by the authors [3].

While a decrease of hood height shows the expected deterioration of efficiency, an increase of the hood height only initially results in an improved performance. After reaching a maximum efficiency, which is dependent on the tip leakage, the exhaust hood performance decreases noticeably again. Apart from the variation of pressure recovery, the results allow a better understanding of the loss mechanisms and flow phenomena in exhaust hoods, showing that the deflection of the flow coming out of the diffuser in the top part of the hood has a major impact on exhaust hood pressure recovery.

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