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Influence of Rim Seal Purge Flow on the Performance of an Endwall-Profiled Axial Turbine

Schuepbach, P.   Abhari, R. S.   Rose, M. G.   Gier, J.  
Journal of Turbomachinery
Issue Date:
Nonaxisymmetric endwall profiling is a promising method to reduce secondary losses in axial turbines. However, in high-pressure turbines, a small amount of air is ejected at the hub rim seal to prevent the ingestion of hot gases into the cavity between the stator and the rotor disk. This rim seal purge flow has a strong influence on the development of the hub secondary flow structures. This paper presents time-resolved experimental and computational data for a one-and-1/2-stage high work axial turbine, showing the influence of purge flow on the performance of two different nonaxisymmetric endwalls and the axisymmetric baseline case. The experimental total-to-total efficiency assessment reveals that the nonaxisymmetric endwalls lose some of their benefit relative to the baseline case when purge is increased. The first endwall design loses 50% of the efficiency improvement seen with low suction, while the second endwall design exhibits a 34% deterioration. The time-resolved computations show that the rotor dominates the static pressure field at the rim seal exit when purge flow is present. Therefore, the purge flow establishes itself as jets emerging at the blade suction side corner. The jet strength is modulated by the first vane pressure field. The jets introduce circumferential vorticity as they enter the annulus. As the injected fluid is turned around the rotor leading edge, a streamwise vortex component is created. The dominating leakage vortex has the same sense of rotation as the rotor hub passage vortex. The first endwall design causes the strongest circumferential variation in the rim seal exit static pressure field. Therefore, the jets are stronger with this geometry and introduce more vorticity than the other two cases. As a consequence the experimental data at the rotor exit shows the greatest unsteadiness within the rotor hub passage with the first endwall design. [DOI: 10.1115/1.4000578]
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