In the internal air system of gas turbine engines or generators, a large variety of different types of annular channels with rotating cylinders are found. Even though the geometry is very simple, the flow field in such channels can be completely three-dimensional and also unsteady. From the literature it is well-known, that the basic two-dimensional flow field breaks up into a pattern of counter-rotating vortices, as soon as the critical speed of the inner cylinder is exceeded. The presence of a superimposed axial flow leads to a helical shape of the vortex pairs, which are moving through the channel.

For the designer of cooling air systems there are several open questions. Does the formation of a Taylor-vortex flow field significantly affect the convective heat transfer behaviour of the channel flow? Is there a stability problem even for high axial Reynolds-numbers and where is the location of the stability boundary? After all, the general influence of rotation on the heat transfer characteristics has to be known.

By the results of flow field and heat transfer measurements, the impact of rotation and the additional influence of Taylor-vortex formation on the heat transfer characteristics in annular channels with axial throughflow will be discussed. The flow field was investigated by time-dependant LDA-measurements, which revealed detailed information about the flow conditions. By a spectral analysis of the measured data, the different flow regimes could be identified. Based on these results, the heat transfer from the hot gas to the rotating inner shaft was determined with a steady-state method. Thus, the influence of the different physical phenomena such as rotation with and without Taylor-vortex formation or the flow development could be separated and quantified. Finally, correlations of the measured results were derived for technical applications.

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