The aspect of hub cavity purge has been investigated in a high-pressure axial low-reaction turbine stage. The cavity purge is an important part of the secondary air system, used to isolate the cavities below the hub level from the hot main annulus flow. A full-scale cold-flow experimental rig featuring a rotating stage was used in the investigation, quantifying main annulus flow field impact with respect to purge flow rate as it was injected upstream of the rotor. Five operating speeds were investigated of which three with respect to purge flow, namely, a high loading design case, and two high-speed points encompassing the peak efficiency. At each of these operating speeds, the amount of purge flow was varied from 0% to 2%. Observing the effect of the purge rate on measurement plane averaged parameters, a minor flow angle decrease and Mach number increase is seen for the low speed case, while maintaining near constant values for the higher operating speeds. The prominent effect due to purge is seen in the efficiency, showing a linear sensitivity to purge of 1.3%-points for every 1% of added purge flow for the investigated speeds. While spatial average values of flow angle and Mach number are essentially unaffected by purge injection, important spanwise variations are observed and highlighted. The secondary flow structure is strengthened in the hub region, leading to a generally increased over-turning and lowered flow velocity. Meanwhile, the added volume flow through the rotor leads to higher outlet flow velocities visible at higher span, with associated decreased turning. A radial efficiency distribution is utilized, showing negative impact through span heights from 15% to 70%. Pitchwise variation of investigated flow parameters is significantly influenced by purge flow, making this a parameter to include for instance when evaluating benefits of stator clocking positions.

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