Purge air is injected in cavities at the hub of axial turbines to prevent hot mainstream gas ingestion into interstage gaps. This process induces additional losses for the turbine due to an interaction between the purge and mainstream flow. This paper investigates the flow in a low-speed linear cascade rig with upstream hub cavity at a Reynolds number commonly observed in modern low-pressure turbine stages by the use of numerical simulation. Numerical predictions are validated by comparing against experimental data available. Three different purge mass flow rates are tested using three different rim seal geometries. Numerical simulations are performed using a large-eddy simulation (LES) solver on structured grids. An investigation of the different mechanisms associated with the turbine flow including cavity and purge air is intended through this simplified configuration. The underlying mechanisms of loss are tracked using an entropy formulation. Once described for a baseline case, the influence of purge flow and rim seal geometry on flow mechanisms and loss generation is described with the emphasis to obtain design parameters for losses reduction. The study quantifies loss generation due to the boundary layer on wetted surfaces and secondary vortices developing in the passage. The analysis shows different paths by which the purge flow and rim seal geometry can change loss generation including a modification of the shear layer between purge and mainstream, interaction with secondary vortices, and a modification of the flow behavior close to hub compared with a smooth configuration. The study shows the influence of purge flow rate and swirl on the strengthening of secondary vortices in the passage and the ability of axial overlapping rim seal to delay the development of secondary vortices compared with simple axial gaps.

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