Flow unsteadiness is a major factor in turbine performance and durability. This is especially true if the turbine is a high work design, compact, transonic, supersonic, counterrotating, or uses a dense drive gas. The vast majority of modern rocket turbine designs fall into these categories. In this study a parallelized unsteady three-dimensional Navier–Stokes analysis has been used to study the effects of tip clearance on the transient and time-averaged flow fields in a supersonic turbine. The predicted results indicate improved performance in the simulation including tip clearance. The main sources of the performance gains were: (1) a weakened shock system in the case with tip clearance, and (2) the fact that the reductions in the shock losses were greater than the losses introduced by tip clearance. [S0889-504X(00)02404-1]

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