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- Status: Published
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).