The upstream wheelspace of an axial air turbine stage complete with nozzle guide vanes (NGVs) and rotor blades (430 mm mean diameter) has been tested with the objective of examining the combined effect of NGVs and rotor blades on the level of mainstream ingestion for different seal flow rates. A simple axial clearance seal was used with the rotor spun up to 6650 rpm by drawing air through it from atmospheric pressure with a large centrifugal compressor. The effect of rotational speed was examined for several constant mainstream flow rates by controlling the rotor speed with an air brake. The circumferential variation in hub static pressure was measured at the trailing edge of the NGVs upstream of the seal gap and was found to affect ingestion significantly. The hub static pressure distribution on the rotor blade leading edges was rotor speed dependent and could not be measured in the experiments. The Denton three-dimensional C.F.D. computer code was used to predict the smoothed time-dependent pressure field for the rotor together with the pressure distribution downstream of the NGVs. The level and distribution of mainstream ingestion, and thus the seal effectiveness, was determined from nitrous oxide gas concentration measurements and related to static pressure measurements made throughout the wheelspace. With the axial clearance rim seal close to the rotor the presence of the blades had a complex effect. Rotor blades in connection with NGVs were found to reduce mainstream ingestion seal flow rates significantly, but a small level of ingestion existed even for very high levels of seal flow rate.

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