One of the most critical parts of a modern gas turbine that its reliability and performance has a great influence on cycle efficiency is the secondary air system (SAS). Modern systems functions to supply not only cooling air flow for turbine blades and vanes but sealing flow for bearing chambers and turbine segments as well as turbine disks’ purge flow in order to eliminate hot gas ingestion. Due to the various interactions between SAS and main gas, consideration of the former is substantially crucial in design and analysis of the whole engine. Geometrical complexities and centrifugal effects of rotating blades and disks, however, make the flow field and heat transfer of the problem so complicated AND too computationally costly to be simulated utilizing full 3-D CFD methods. Therefore, developing 1-D and 0-D tools applying network methods are of great interests.
The present article describes a modular SAS analysis tool that is consisted of a network of elements and nodes. Each flow branch of a whole engine SAS network is substituted with an element and then, various branches (elements) intersect with each other just at their end nodes. These elements which might include some typical components such as labyrinth seals, orifices, stationary/rotating pipes, pre-swirls, and rim-seals, are generally articulated with characteristic curves that are extracted from high fidelity CFD modeling using commercial software such as Flowmaster or ANSYS-CFX. Having these curves, an algorithm is developed to calculate flow parameters at nodes with the aid of iterative methods.
The procedure is based on three main innovative ideas. The first one is related to the network construction by defining a connectivity matrix which could be applied to any arbitrary network such as hydraulic or lubrication networks. In the second one, off-design SAS calculation will be proposed by introducing some SAS elements that their characteristic non-dimensional curves are influenced by their inlet total pressure. The last novelty is the integration of the blades coolant calculation process that incorporates external heat transfer calculation, structural conduction and coolant side modeling with SAS network simulation. Finally, SAS simulation of an industrial gas turbine is presented to illustrate capabilities of the presented tool in design point and off-design conditions.