On-line compressor washing for industrial gas turbine application is a promising method of mitigating the effects of compressor fouling degradation; however there are still few studies from actual engine experience that are inconclusive. In some cases the authors attribute this uncertainty as a result of other existing forms of degradation. The experimental approach applied here is one of the first of its kind, employing on-line washing on a compressor cascade and then relating the characteristics to a three-dimensional axial flow compressor. The overall performance of a 226MW engine model for the different cases of a clean, fouled and washed engine is obtained based on the changing compressor behavior. Investigating the effects of fouling on the clean engine exposed to blade roughness of 102μm caused 8.7% reduction in power at design point. This is equivalent, typically to 12 months degradation in fouling conditions. Decreases in mass flow, compressor efficiency, pressure ratio and unattainable design point speed are also observed. An optimistic recovery of 50% of the lost power is obtained after washing which lasts up to 10mins. Similarly, a recovery of all the key parameters is achieved. The study provides an insight into compressor cascade blade washing, which facilitates a reliable estimation of compressor overall efficiency penalties based on well established assumptions. Adopting Howell’s theory as well as constant polytropic efficiency, a general understanding of turbomachinery would judge that 50% of lost power recovered is likely to be the high end of what is achievable for the existing high pressure wash. This investigation highlights the obvious benefits of power recovery with on-line washing and the potential to maintain optimum engine performance with frequent washes. Clearly, the greatest benefits accrue when the washing process is initiated immediately following overhaul.

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