The Czech Technical University in Prague (CTU) has been conducting both theoretical and experimental research on wet steam for over 50 years. Part of this research has focused on the development of an instrument for measuring the structure of the liquid phase of wet steam — an optical extinction probe. The measurements of the wet steam structure using our optical extinction probe take place in operative steam turbines. Due to the non-negligible interaction of the probe with the flow field in its vicinity, the wet steam parameters within the probe measuring space change. This probe-flow field interaction (PFFI) negatively affects the accuracy of the measurement of the liquid phase structure.

This paper presents partial results of our research into the interaction between the optical probe and the surrounding flow field. Particularly, it is the result of CFD simulations of wet steam (WS) flow in the low-pressure section of a 1000 MW nuclear plant steam turbine, in which the probe has been used repeatedly. In the simulations we consider, non-equilibrium condensation allows for the observation of the formation and development of the liquid phase within the turbine. The influence of PFFI on the liquid phase structure is evaluated by a coefficient called the Probe Influence Factor (PIF). In this work, the PIF values are presented for 3 varying traversing positions of the probe along the L-1 stage turbine blade. The use of the PIF to analyse the experimental measurement results is also discussed.

The second part of the paper deals with the possibility of modifying the shape of the probe measuring head. Based on detailed analysis of the CFD simulations of PFFI, modifying the shape of the probe is proposed to reduce this interaction. The benefit of this change is evaluated using CFD simulations. Comparisons between the PIF coefficients of the original and modified optical probes indicate that modifying the shape may reduce the PFFI influence on experimental measurements.

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