A numerical investigation of the flow and heat transfer characteristics of tip leakage in a typical film cooled industrial gas turbine rotor is presented in this paper. The computations were performed on a rotating domain of a single blade with a clearance gap of 1.28% chord in an engine environment. This standard blade featured two coolant and two dust holes, in a cavity-type tip with a central rib. The computations were performed using CFX 5.6, which was validated for similar flow situations by Krishnababu et al. (2007, “Aero-Thermal Investigation of Tip Leakage Flow in Axial Flow Turbines: Part I—Effect of Tip Geometry,” ASME Paper No. 2007-GT-27954). These predictions were further verified by comparing the flow and heat transfer characteristics computed in the absence of coolant ejection with computations previously performed in the company (SIEMENS) using standard in-house codes. Turbulence was modeled using the shear-stress transport (SST) $k-ω$ turbulence model. The comparison of calculations performed with and without coolant ejection has shown that the coolant flow partially blocks the tip gap, resulting in a reduction in the amount of mainstream leakage flow. The calculations identified that the main detrimental heat transfer issues were caused by impingement of the hot leakage flow onto the tip. Hence three different modifications (referred as Cases 1–3) were made to the standard blade tip in an attempt to reduce the tip gap exit mass flow and the associated impingement heat transfer. The improvements and limitations of the modified geometries, in terms of tip gap exit mass flow, total area of the tip affected by the hot flow and the total heat flux to the tip, are discussed. The main feature of the Case 1 geometry is the removal of the rib, and this modification was found to effectively reduce both the total area affected by the hot leakage flow and total heat flux to the tip, while maintaining the same leakage mass flow as the standard blade. Case 2 featured a rearrangement of the dust holes in the tip, which, in terms of aerothermal dynamics, proved to be marginally inferior to Case 1. Case 3, which essentially created a suction-side squealer geometry, was found to be inferior even to the standard cavity-tip blade. It was also found that the hot spots, which occur in the leading edge region of the standard tip, and all modifications contributed significantly to the area affected by the hot tip leakage flow and the total heat flux.

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