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In order to achieve higher gas turbine efficiency, the main gas temperature at turbine inlet has been steadily increased from approximately 900°C to about 1500°C over the last few decades. This temperature is higher than the maximum acceptable temperature for turbine internals. The hot main gas may get ingested into the space between rotor and stator, the rotor-stator disk cavity in a stage because of the pressure differential between main gas annulus and the disk cavity. To reduce this ingestion, the disk cavity is equipped with a rim seal; additionally, secondary (purge) air is supplied to the cavity. Since the purge air is typically bled off the compressor discharge, this reducing the overall gas turbine efficiency, much research has been carried out to estimate the minimum purge flow necessary (cw,min) for complete sealing of disk cavities.
In this work, experiments have been performed in a subscale single-stage axial turbine featuring vanes, blades and an axially-overlapping radial-clearance seal at the disk cavity rim. The turbine stage is also equipped with a labyrinth seal radially inboard. The stage geometry and the experimental conditions were such that the ingestion into the disk cavity was driven by the pressure asymmetry in the main gas annulus. In the experiments, time-averaged static pressure was measured at several locations in the main annulus and in the disk cavity; the pressure differential between a location on the vane platform close to lip (this being the rim seal part on the stator) and a location in the 'seal region' in the cavity is considered to be the driving potential for both ingestion and egress. Time-averaged volumetric concentration of the tracer gas (CO2) in the purge air supplied was measured at multiple radial locations on the stator surface. The pressure and ingestion data were then used to calculate the ingestion and egress discharge coefficients for a range of purge flow rates, employing a simple orifice model of the rim seal. For the experiments performed, the egress discharge coefficient increased and the ingestion discharge coefficient decreased with the purge air flow rate. A method for estimation of cw,min is also proposed.
A major concern in the operation of present-day gas turbine engines is the ingestion of hot mainstream gas into rotor-stator disk cavities of the high-pressure turbine stages. Although the engines require high gas temperature at turbine entry for good performance efficiency, the ingested gas shortens the lives of the cavity internals, particularly that of the rotor disks. Steps such as installing seals at the disk rims and injecting purge (secondary) air bled from the compressor discharge into the cavities are implemented to reduce the gas ingestion. Although there are advantages to the above-mentioned steps, the performance of a gas turbine engine is diminished by the purge air bleed-off. This then requires that the cavity sealing function be achieved with as low a purge air supply rate as possible. This, in turn, renders imperative an in-depth understanding of the pressure and velocity fields in the main gas path and within the disk cavities. In this work, experiments were carried out in a model 1.5-stage (stator-rotor-stator) axial air turbine to study the ingestion of main air into the aft, rotor-stator, disk cavity. The cavity featured rotor and stator rim seals with radial clearance and axial overlap and an inner labyrinth seal. First, time-average static pressure distribution was measured in the main gas path upstream and downstream of the rotor as well as in the cavity to ensure that a nominally steady run condition had been achieved. Main gas ingestion was determined by measuring the concentration distribution of tracer gas (CO2) in the cavity. To map the cavity fluid velocity field, particle image velocimetry was employed. Results are reported for two main air flow rates, two rotor speeds, and four purge air flow rates.
Efficient performance of gas turbines depends, among several parameters, on the mainstream gas entry temperature. At the same time, transport of this high temperature gas into the rotor-stator cavities of turbine stages affects the durability of rotor disks. This transport is usually countered by installing seals on the rotor and stator disk rims and by pressurizing the cavities by injecting air (purge gas) bled from the compressor discharge. The configuration of the rim seals influences the magnitude of main gas ingestion as well as the interaction of the purge gas with the main gas. The latter has aerodynamic and hub endwall heat transfer implications in the main gas path. In the present work, experiments were performed on model single-stage and 1.5-stage axial-flow turbines. The turbines featured vanes, blades, and rim seals on both the rotor and stator disks. Three different rim seal geometries, viz., axially overlapping radial clearance rim seals for the single-stage turbine cavity and the 1.5-stage turbine aft cavity, and a rim seal with angular clearance for the single-stage turbine cavity were studied. In the single-stage turbine, an inner seal radially inboard in the cavity was also provided; this effectively divided the disk cavity into a rim cavity and an inner cavity. For the aft rotor-stator cavity of the 1.5-stage turbine, a labyrinth seal was provided radially inboard, again creating a rim cavity and an inner cavity. Measurement results of time-average main gas ingestion into the cavities using tracer gas (CO2), and ensemble-averaged trajectories of the purge gas flowing out through the rim seal gap into the main gas path using particle image velocimetry are presented. For both turbines, significant ingestion occurred only in the rim cavity. The inner cavity was almost completely sealed by the inner seal, at all purge gas flow rates for the single-stage turbine and at the higher purge gas flow rates for 1.5-stage turbine. Purge gas egress trajectory was found to depend on main gas and purge gas flow rates, the rim seal configuration, and the azimuthal location of the trajectory mapping plane with respect to the vanes.
Ingestion of high temperature mainstream gas into the rotor-stator cavities of a gas turbine is one of the major problems faced by the turbine designers. The ingested gas heats up rotor disks and induces higher thermal stresses on them, giving rise to durability concern. Ingestion is usually reduced by installing seals on the rotor and stator rims and by purging the disk cavity by secondary air bled from the compressor discharge. The geometry of the rim seals and the secondary air flow rate, together, influence the amount of gas that gets ingested into the cavities. Since the amount of secondary air bled off has a negative effect on the gas turbine thermal efficiency, one goal is to use the least possible amount of secondary air. This requires a good understanding of the flow and ingestion fields within a disk cavity. In the present study, the mainstream gas ingestion phenomenon has been experimentally studied in a model single-stage axial flow gas turbine. The turbine stage featured vanes and blades, and rim seals on both the rotor and stator. Additionally, the disk cavity contained a labyrinth seal radially inboard which effectively divided the cavity into a rim cavity and an inner cavity. Time-average static pressure measurements were obtained at various radial positions within the disk cavity, and in the mainstream gas path at three axial locations at the outer shroud spread circumferentially over two vane pitches. The time-average static pressure in the main gas path exhibited a periodic asymmetry following the vane pitch whose amplitude diminished with increasing distance from the vane trailing edge. The static pressure distribution increased with the secondary air flow rate within the inner cavity but was found to be almost independent of it in the rim cavity. Tracer gas (CO2) concentration measurements were conducted to determine the sealing effectiveness of the rim seals against main gas ingestion. For the rim cavity, the sealing effectiveness increased with the secondary air flow rate. Within the inner cavity however, this trend reversed -this may have been due to the presence of rotating low-pressure flow structures inboard of the labyrinth seal.
Modern day gas turbine designers face the problem of hot mainstream gas ingestion into rotor-stator disk cavities. To counter this ingestion, seals are installed on the rotor and stator disk rims and purge air, bled off from the compressor, is injected into the cavities. It is desirable to reduce the supply of purge air as this decreases the net power output as well as efficiency of the gas turbine. Since the purge air influences the disk cavity flow field and effectively the amount of ingestion, the aim of this work was to study the cavity velocity field experimentally using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Experiments were carried out in a model single-stage axial flow turbine set-up that featured blades as well as vanes, with purge air supplied at the hub of the rotor-stator disk cavity. Along with the rotor and stator rim seals, an inner labyrinth seal was provided which split the disk cavity into a rim cavity and an inner cavity. First, static gage pressure distribution was measured to ensure that nominally steady flow conditions had been achieved. The PIV experiments were then performed to map the velocity field on the radial-tangential plane within the rim cavity at four axial locations. Instantaneous velocity maps obtained by PIV were analyzed sector-by-sector to understand the rim cavity flow field. It was observed that the tangential velocity dominated the cavity flow at low purge air flow rate, its dominance decreasing with increase in the purge air flow rate. Radially inboard of the rim cavity, negative radial velocity near the stator surface and positive radial velocity near the rotor surface indicated the presence of a recirculation region in the cavity whose radial extent increased with increase in the purge air flow rate. Qualitative flow streamline patterns are plotted within the rim cavity for different experimental conditions by combining the PIV map information with ingestion measurements within the cavity as reported in Thiagarajan (2013).