Flow fields near the turbine vane endwall region are very complicated due to the presence of highly three-dimensional passage vortices and endwall secondary flows. This makes it challenging for the endwall to be effectively cooled by employing traditional endwall cooling methods, such as impingement cooling combined with local film cooling inside the vane passage. One effective endwall cooling scheme: coolant injection flow through discrete holes upstream of the vane leading edge on the endwall, has been considered by many gas turbine companies. The present paper focuses on endwall film cooling effectiveness evaluation with upstream coolant injection through discrete holes.
Detailed experimental and numerical studies on endwall heat transfer and cooling performance with coolant injection flow through upstream discrete holes is presented in this paper. High resolution heat transfer coefficient (HTC) and adiabatic film cooling effectiveness values were measured using a transient infrared thermography technique on an axisymmetric contoured endwall. The endwall tested was a scaled up inner endwall of an industrial transonic turbine vane with double-row discrete cylindrical film cooling holes located 0.39Cx upstream of the vane leading edge. The tests were performed in a transonic linear cascade blow-down wind tunnel facility. Conditions were representative of a land-based power generation turbine with exit Mach number of 0.85 corresponding to exit Reynolds number of 1.5 × 106, based on exit condition and axial chord length. A high turbulence level of 16% with an integral length scale of 3.6%P was generated using inlet turbulence grid to reproduce the typical turbulence conditions in real turbine. Low temperature air was used to simulate the typical coolant-to-mainstream condition by controlling two parameters of the upstream coolant injection flow: mass flow rate to determine the coolant-to-mainstream blowing ratio (BR = 2.5, 3.5), and gas temperature to determine the density ratio (DR = 1.2). To highlight the interactions between the upstream coolant flow and the passage secondary flow combined with the influence on the endwall heat transfer and cooling performance, a comparison of CFD predictions to experimental results was performed by solving steady-state Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) using the commercial CFD solver ANSYS Fluent v.15. A detailed numerical method validation was performed for four different Reynolds-averaged turbulence models. The Realizable κ-ϵ model was validated to be suitable to obtain reliable numerical solution. The influences of a wide range of coolant-to-mainstream blowing ratios (BR = 1.0, 1.5, 1.9, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5) were numerically studied. Complex interactions between coolant injections and secondary flows in vane passage were presented and discussed.
Results indicate that for lower values of BR, the endwall coolant coverage from the upstream double-row discrete holes is strongly controlled by the passage secondary flow, thus the cooling effectiveness is very poor. As the BR increases, the strong secondary flow in vane passage can be suppressed by the coolant injections and begin to be almost eliminated when BR increases to a critical value (BR = 2.5 – 3.0). Beyond the critical BR, most of the injected coolant begins to lift off from the endwall and penetrate significantly into the mainstream flow, yielding inefficient endwall cooling performance.