The focus of the present study is to understand the effect of Rayleigh number on a high Rossby number flow in a high pressure compressor (HPC) inter-disk cavity. These cavities form between the compressor disks of a gas turbine engine, and they are an integral part of the internal air cooling system. We perform highly resolved large eddy simulations for two Rayleigh numbers of 0.76 × 108 and 1.54 × 108 at a fixed Rossby number of 4.5 by solving the compressible Navier–Stokes equations.
The results show a flow structure dominated by a toroidal vortex in the inner region of the cavity. In the outer region, the flow is observed to move radially outwards by Ekman layers formed on the side disks and to move radially inwards through the central core region of the cavity. An enhancement in the intensity of the radial flares is observed in the outer region of the cavity for the high Rayleigh number case with no perceivable effect in the inner region. The near shroud region is mostly dominated by the centrifugal buoyancy-induced flow and the wall Nusselt number calculated at the shroud is in close agreement with centrifugal buoyancy-induced flow without an axial bore flow.