A CFD-based throughflow solver is applied to the meridional analysis of low-pressure steam turbine modules. The throughflow code inherits its numerical scheme from a state-of-the-art CFD solver (TRAF code) and incorporates real gas capabilities, three-dimensional flow features and spanwise mixing models. Secondary flow effects are introduced via a concentrated vortex model. Tip gap and shroud leakage effects are modelled in terms of source vectors in the system of governing equations. The impact of part-span shrouds and snubbers are accounted for, on a local basis, through suitable body force fields.

The AUSM+-up upwind strategy has been adopted as a basis to construct a numerical flux scheme explicitly suited for throughflow applications. The original formulation has been adapted to handle real gas flows and to embed the treatment of body force fields in a fully consistent framework. The capability of the procedure is assessed by analysing the low-pressure modules of two large steam turbines designed and manufactured by Ansaldo Energia. These 3-stage modules include rotor tip shrouds and part-span snubbers, and feature supersonic flow and large blade twist. Throughflow predictions in terms of main performance figures and radial distributions of flow quantities are compared to experimental data and 3D steady viscous analyses. It will be shown how the proposed CFD-based throughflow model can be fruitfully used in the early stages of the design as it delivers predictions of comparable accuracy with 3D CFD analyses at a fraction of the computational time.

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