This paper presents the detailed numerical analysis including parametric studies on the aerodynamic excitation mechanisms in a turbine stage due to the unsteady stator-rotor interaction. The work is part of the pre-design study of a high pressure subsonic turbine for a rocket engine turbopump. The pressure level in such turbines can be remarkably high (in this case 54 MPa inlet total pressure). Hence, large unsteady rotor blade loads can be expected, which impose difficult design requirements.

The parameter studies are performed at midspan with the numerical flow solver UNSFLO, a 2D/Q3D unsteady hybrid Euler/Navier-Stokes solver. Comparisons to 2D and steady 3D results obtained with a fully viscous solver, VOLSOL, are made.

The investigated design parameters are the axial gap (∼8%–29% of rotor axial chord length) and the stator vane size and count (stator-rotor pitch ratio ∼1–2.75). For the nominal case the numerical solution is analyzed regarding the contributions of potential and vortical flow disturbances at the rotor inlet using rotor gust computations.

It was found that gust calculations were not capable to capture the complexity of the detected excitation mechanisms, but the possibility to reduce excitations by enforcing cancellation of the vortical and potential effects has been elaborated. The potential excitation mechanism in the present turbine stage is found dominant compared to relatively small and local wake excitation effects. The parameter studies indicate design recommendations for the axial gap and the stator size regarding the unsteady rotor load.

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