Flow Field Computations of Combustor-Turbine Interactions in a Gas Turbine Engine

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Virginia Tech

The current demands for higher performance in gas turbine engines can be reached by raising combustion temperatures to increase thermal efficiency. Hot combustion temperatures create a harsh environment which leads to the consideration of the durability of the combustor and turbine sections. Improvements in durability can be achieved through understanding the interactions between the combustor and turbine. The flow field at a combustor exit shows non-uniformities in pressure, temperature, and velocity in the pitch and radial directions. This inlet profile to the turbine can have a considerable effect on the development of the secondary flows through the vane passage.

This thesis presents a computational study of the flow field generated in a non-reacting gas turbine combustor and how that flow field convects through the downstream stator vane. Specifically, the effect that the combustor flow field had on the secondary flow pattern in the turbine was studied. Data from a modern gas turbine engine manufacturer was used to design a realistic, low speed, large scale combustor test section. This thesis presents the results of computational simulations done in parallel with experimental simulations of the combustor flow field.

In comparisons of computational predictions with experimental data, reasonable agreement of the mean flow and general trends were found for the case without dilution jets. The computational predictions of the combustor flow with dilution jets indicated that the turbulence models under-predicted jet mixing. The combustor exit profiles showed non-uniformities both radially and circumferentially, which were strongly dependent on dilution and cooling slot injection. The development of the secondary flow field in the turbine was highly dependent on the incoming total pressure profile. For a case with a uniform inlet pressure in the near-wall region no leading edge vortex was formed. The endwall heat transfer was found to also depend strongly on the secondary flow field, and therefore on the incoming pressure profile from the combustor.

Turbine Vane, Gas Turbine, Combustor, Computational fluid dynamics