Gas turbine performance degradation over time is mainly due to the deterioration of compressor and turbine blades, which, in turn, causes a modification of the compressor and turbine performance maps. Since the detailed information about the actual modification of the compressor and turbine performance maps is usually unavailable, the component performance can be modeled and investigated by the following: scaling the overall performance map, using stage-by-stage models of the compressor and turbine, and scaling each single stage performance map to account for each stage deterioration, or performing 3D numerical simulations, which allow to both highlight the fluid-dynamic phenomena occurring in the faulty component and grasp the effect on the overall performance of each affected component. In this paper, the authors address the most common and experienced source of loss for a gas turbine, i.e., compressor fouling. With respect to the traditional approach, which mainly aims at the identification of the overall effects of fouling, authors investigate a microscale representation of compressor fouling (i.e., blade surface deterioration and flow deviation). This allows (i) a more detailed investigation of the fouling effects (e.g., mechanism, location along blade height, etc.), (ii) a more extensive analysis of the causes of performance deterioration, and (iii) the assessment of the effect of fouling on stage performance coefficients and on stage performance maps. In this paper, the effect of nonuniform surface roughness on both rotor and stator blades of an axial compressor stage is investigated by using a commercial CFD code. The NASA Stage 37 test case is considered as the baseline geometry and a numerical model already validated against experimental data available in literature is used for the simulations. Different nonuniform combinations of surface roughness levels are imposed on rotor and stator blades. This makes it possible to highlight how the localization of fouling on compressor blades affects compressor performance both at an overall and at a fluid-dynamic level.

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