Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations are widely used in mechanical engineering. Although achieving a high level of confidence in numerical modelling is of crucial importance in the field of turbomachinery, verification and validation of CFD simulations are very tricky especially for complex flows encountered in radial turbines. Comprehensive studies of radial machines are available in the literature. Unfortunately, none of them include enough detailed geometric data to be properly reproduced and so cannot be considered for academic research and validation purposes. As a consequence, design improvements of such configurations are difficult. Moreover it seems that well-developed analyses of radial turbines are used in commercial software but are not available in the open literature especially at high pressure ratios.
It is the purpose of this paper to provide a fully open set of data to reproduce the exact geometry of the high pressure ratio single stage radial-inflow turbine used in the Sundstrand Power Systems T-100 Multipurpose Small Power Unit. First, preliminary one-dimensional meanline design and analysis are performed using the commercial software RITAL from Concepts-NREC in order to establish a complete reference test case available for turbomachinery code validation. The proposed design of the existing turbine is then carefully and successfully checked against the geometrical and experimental data partially published in the literature. Then, three-dimensional Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes simulations are conducted by means of the Axcent-PushButton CFD® CFD software. The effect of the tip clearance gap is investigated in detail for a wide range of operating conditions. The results confirm that the 3D geometry is correcty reproduced. It also reveals that the turbine is shocked while designed to give a high-subsonic flow and highlight he importance of the diffuser.