The current computational study deals with the isothermal fluid flow and heat transfer analysis of a gas turbine combustor subject to different boundary conditions. A 90 degree sector model was studied computationally in order to identify the impingement and peak heat transfer locations along the combustor liner in addition to heat transfer augmentation. Validation experiments were carried out for the full scale industrial swirler-fuel nozzle using PIV and IR thermography to obtain flow and heat transfer data. Inlet conditions into the swirler were set to a Reynolds number of 50000 and the outlet was set to atmospheric conditions. The swirler vanes provided a radially varying swirl to the flow entering into the combustor. The k-w SST turbulence model was employed to investigate the effects of different inlet turbulence parameters on the accuracy of the simulation, i.e., calculations with experimental inlet turbulent kinetic energy and deduced dissipation rate profiles, and prescribed constant turbulent intensity and length scale. It was observed that the former provided conforming results with the experiments at specific locations and improved convergence, while both cases showed discrepancy in velocity profiles within the central recirculation region of the combustor. The peak heat transfer and impingement location along the liner were in excellent agreement with the experimental data. However the peak magnitude prediction was over-predicted up to 27%. This discrepancy was attributed to the limitations of two-equation turbulence model predictions near the stagnation region. An additional study was performed to investigate the effect of different inlet swirl angles on the impingement location. It was observed that a higher swirl angle shifts the impingement location upstream. Overall, the present study provides a probe into the capability of steady RANS models to predict combustor swirling flows and wall heat transfer; and also aids in using the steady state results as initialization data for the future scale resolved turbulence model based simulations. In spite of the quantitative discrepancies, the liner heat transfer trends are expected to provide valuable insight to the industrial community in the design of combustor liners based on less expensive computational tools.

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