Suspended micrometric particles are always present in the air swallowed by gas turbines. These solid particles can overpass the filters of heavy-duty gas turbines and deposit onto the internal surfaces of the compressor, leading to the overtime reduction of the machine performances, and, as a result, to the fuel consumption augmentation. A widely employed method to slow down the engine degradation is to wash the engine frequently. Over the years, the washing techniques have been continuously improved in order to reach the best compromise between low fluid consumption and high washing capabilities. In this work, an experimental campaign has been carried out to estimate the washing effectiveness on a multistage axial-flow compressor fouled with micrometric soot particles. The cleaning fluids tested in the present work were demineralized water and two cleaners provided by ZOK International Group ltd: a commercial cleaner available on the market (ZOK 27), and a new, under development, environmentally-sensitive formula. The fluids have been tested employing three droplet size distributions (with mean diameters of 20 μm, 50 μm, and 100 μm). The washing effectiveness has been assessed through image post-processing techniques by analyzing the pictures of the stator vanes and rotor blades taken in fouled and washed conditions. From the present investigation, two results arise. The finest droplets show a greater capability to remove soot deposits showing how, when the washing operation takes place during quasi-idle operating condition, the turbulent-driven motion spread smaller particles on a wider blade region. The second results is the demonstration how a environmentally-sensitive chemical formula allows the obtainment of good results in terms removal capability for the same amount of product. This finding could help the plant manager to operate the gas turbine with less constraints in terms of cost and rules.

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