Abstract

Gas turbine engine design requires considerations not only for long-term steady operation, but also for critical transient events. Aircraft engines undergo significant stress during takeoff and landing while power generation turbines must be flexible for hot restarts as renewable energy sources come on and offline. During these transient cycles, engines sustain wear and degradation that can lead to a reduction in the lifespan of their components and more frequent, costly maintenance. Cooling flows are often used to mitigate these effects, but can lead to complex and problematic flow interactions. This study uses high frequency response pressure probes and heat flux gauges in the rim seal cavity of a one-stage research turbine to characterize the properties of large-scale flow structures during transient operation. A continuous-duration turbine testing facility provides the ability to assess the importance of these transients by first reaching steady state operation prior to imposing transient behaviors. Although previous studies have conducted similar measurements for steady purge flows and wheel speeds, varying these parameters to simulate transient effects revealed several unique phenomena not identifiable with discrete steady measurements. The measurement approach connects the varied transient parameter to the behavior of the flow structures to enable a better understanding of the type of instability observed and the root cause of its formation. In particular, a relationship between instability cell formation and rim sealing effectiveness was identified using experimental data and was supported through computational simulations.

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