Many GE frame gas turbines have a unique 90-deg tailpipe exhaust system that contains struts, diffusers, and turning vanes. As confirmed in a recent report by GE and other authors, it is known in the industry that this tailpipe design has large pressure losses. In this recent report a pressure loss as high as 60 in. of water (0.15 kgs/sqcm) was cited. Due to the flow separations they create, the report indicates that the struts can cause very high-pressure losses in the turbine. The report also states that these pressure losses can vary with different turbine load conditions. Cheng Fluid Systems and Cheng Power Systems have conducted a study aimed at substantially reducing these pressure losses. Flow control technology introduced to the refinery industry, i.e., the Cheng Rotation Vane (CRV) and the Large Angle Diffuser (LAD) can be used to mitigate the flow separation and turbulence that occurs in turns, bends, and large sudden expansions. Specifically the CRV addresses the flow separations in pipe turns, and the LAD addresses the flow problems that occur with large sudden expansion areas. The paper will introduce the past experience of the CRV and LAD, and will then use computer simulations to show the flow characteristics around a new design. First, the study meticulously goes through the entire GE exhaust system, starting with the redesign of the airfoil shape surrounding the struts. This new design has a larger angle of attack and minimizes the flow separations over a much wider operating range. Second, the pros and cons of the concentric turning vanes are studied and it is shown that they are more flow restrictive, rather than flow enhancing. Third, it is shown that the highly turbulent rectangular box-type exhaust ducting design, substantially contributes to high noise levels and pressure losses. In this paper a completed design will be shown that incorporates a new airfoil shape for the struts, and by using CRV flow technology in combination with the LAD flow technology, the pressure recovery can be enhanced. If the pressure losses could be reduced by 40 inches of water (0.10 kgs/sqcm), the turbine efficiency could be increased by 5%, and the power output could be increased by 6%.
A New Tailpipe Design for GE Frame-Type Gas Turbines to Substantially Lower Pressure Losses
Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute and presented at the International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, June 3–6, 2002. Manuscript received by the IGTI, October 9, 2001. Paper No. 2002-GT-30149. Review Chair: E. Benvenuti.
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Golomb , R., Sahai, V., and Cheng, D. Y. (January 23, 2003). "A New Tailpipe Design for GE Frame-Type Gas Turbines to Substantially Lower Pressure Losses ." ASME. J. Turbomach. January 2003; 125(1): 128–132. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1515335
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