Operating at low load conditions may cause strong and non-synchronous unsteadiness and a high blade dynamic loading for the last stage blades (LSB). Full annulus models should be used to investigate the circumferential asymmetric flow unsteadiness and blade vibrations. Currently, although full annulus models have been applied to numerical aerodynamic studies, to authors’ knowledge, there is still no research including the full annulus in structural analysis due to the high computational cost. In this paper, an unsteady aerodynamic and structural coupled analysis method for an industrial steam turbine LSB using full annulus model under low load conditions is presented. To conduct finite element method (FEM) with limited computational resources, a new structural analysis procedure is proposed to calculate the dynamic stress.

The aerodynamic analysis is conducted in both steady and unsteady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) calculations. The tip pressure ratio in the steady state calculations is used to predict the aerodynamic loading intensity. The unsteady results indicate typical flow characteristics under low load conditions, which show a big separation region behind the last rotor and tip vortex between last stator and rotor. Unsteady aerodynamic loading is mapped onto the blade surface as the excitation force. The structural analysis is performed to investigate the characteristics of blade vibrations and stress distributions of the full annulus LSB. Repeating the method, a reasonable characteristics curve of vibration stress against flow rates for LSB is calculated.

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