Modern lean burn combustors now employ aggressive swirlers to enhance fuel-air mixing and improve flame stability. The flow at combustor exit can therefore have high residual swirl. A good deal of research concerning the flow within the combustor is available in open literature. The impact of swirl on the aerodynamic and heat transfer characteristics of an HP turbine stage is not well understood, however. A combustor swirl simulator has been designed and commissioned in the Oxford Turbine Research Facility (OTRF), previously located at QinetiQ, Farnborough UK. The swirl simulator is capable of generating an engine-representative combustor exit swirl pattern. At the turbine inlet plane, yaw and pitch angles of over ±40 deg have been simulated. The turbine research facility used for the study is an engine scale, short duration, rotating transonic turbine, in which the nondimensional parameters for aerodynamics and heat transfer are matched to engine conditions. The research turbine was the unshrouded MT1 design. By design, the center of the vortex from the swirl simulator can be clocked to any circumferential position with respect to HP vane, and the vortex-to-vane count ratio is 1:2. For the current investigation, the clocking position was such that the vortex center was aligned with the vane leading edge (every second vane). Both the aligned vane and the adjacent vane were characterized. This paper presents measurements of HP vane surface and end wall heat transfer for the two vane positions. The results are compared with measurements conducted without swirl. The vane surface pressure distributions are also presented. The experimental measurements are compared with full-stage three-dimensional unsteady numerical predictions obtained using the Rolls Royce in-house code Hydra. The aerodynamic and heat transfer characterization presented in this paper is the first of its kind, and it is hoped to give some insight into the significant changes in the vane flow and heat transfer that occur in the current generation of low NOx combustors. The findings not only have implications for the vane aerodynamic design, but also for the cooling system design.

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