Numerical simulations have been carried out to define the loss generation mechanisms associated with tip leakage in unshrouded axial turbines. Tip clearance vortex dynamics are a dominant feature of two mechanisms important in determining this loss: (i) decreased swirl velocity due to vortex line contraction in regions of decreasing axial velocity, i.e., adverse pressure gradient, and (ii) vortex breakdown and reverse flow in the vortex core. The mixing losses behave differently from the conventional view of flow exiting a turbine tip clearance. More specifically, it is shown through control volume arguments and computations that as a swirling leakage flow passes through a pressure rise, such as in the aft portion of the suction side of a turbine blade, the mixed-out loss can either decrease or increase. For turbines, the latter typically occurs if the deceleration is large enough to initiate vortex breakdown, and it is demonstrated that this can occur in modern turbines. The effect of blade pressure distribution on clearance losses is illustrated through computational examination of turbine blades with forward loading at the tip and with aft loading. A 15% difference in leakage loss is found between the two due to lower clearance vortex deceleration (lower core static pressure rise) with forward loading and, hence, lower vortex breakdown loss. Additional computational experiments, carried out to define the effects of blade loading, incidence, and solidity, are found to be consistent with the proposed ideas linking blade pressure distribution, vortex breakdown, and turbine tip leakage loss.
Blade Loading Effects on Axial Turbine Tip Leakage Vortex Dynamics and Loss
Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) of ASME for publication in the Journal of Turbomachinery. Manuscript received June 28, 2012; final manuscript received September 4, 2012; published online June 26, 2013. Editor: David Wisler.
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Huang, A. C., Greitzer, E. M., Tan, C. S., Clemens, E. F., Gegg, S. G., and Turner, E. R. (June 26, 2013). "Blade Loading Effects on Axial Turbine Tip Leakage Vortex Dynamics and Loss." ASME. J. Turbomach. September 2013; 135(5): 051012. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4007832
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