The aerodynamic characteristics of turbine cascades are thought to be relatively satisfactory due to the favorable pressure of the accelerating flow. But within the low Reynolds number region of 6×104 where the 300kW ceramic gas turbines which are being developed under the New Sunshine project of Japan operate, the characteristics such as boundary layer separation, reattachment and secondary flow which lead to prominent power losses can not be easily predicted.
In this research, experiments have been conducted to evaluate the performance of an annular turbine stator cascade, especially focused on the influence of inlet turbulence intensity at low Reynolds numbers. The Reynolds number, based on inlet condition, was varied from 2×104 to 12×104. The turbulence intensity was changed between 0.5% and 8.9% by setting turbulence generation sheets. The wake of the cascade was measured using a 5-hole pressure probe and a single element hot-wire anemometry.
The Reynolds number was a determinative important parameter, while the turbulence intensity was found to have an insignificant effect on the overall total pressure loss of annular turbine stator at low Reynolds numbers. However, the increase in separation zone on suction surface and the decrease of passage vortices near the endwalls were observed locally with the increase in the inlet turbulence intensity. Instantaneous velocity signals proved the transformation of the flow structure in separation zone. The increase in profile loss (separation) and the decrease in net secondary loss (passage vonices) offset each other. Therefore, the net overall loss remains almost constant.