Due to increase in the power generation from renewable sources, steam and gas turbines will be required to adapt for more flexible operations with frequent start-ups and shut-downs to provide load levelling capacity. During shut-down regimes, mixed convection takes place with natural convection dominance depending on the operating conditions in turbine cavities. Buoyant flows inside the turbine that are responsible for non-uniform cooling leading to thermal stresses and compromise clearances directly limits the operational flexibility. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools are required to predict the flow field during these regimes since direct measurements are extremely difficult to conduct due to the harsh operating conditions. Natural convection with the presence of cross-flow -mixed convection has not been extensively studied to provide detailed measurements. Since the literature lacks of research on such flows with real engine representative operating conditions for CFD validation, the confidence in numerical predictions is rather inadequate.
This paper presents a novel experimental facility that has been designed and commissioned to perform very accurate unsteady temperature and flow field measurements in a simplified turbine casing geometry. The facility is capable of reproducing a wide range of Richardson, Grashof and Reynolds numbers which are representative of engine realistic operating conditions. In addition, high fidelity, wall resolved LES with dynamic Smagorinsky subgrid scale model has been performed. The flow field as well as heat transfer characteristics have been accurately captured with LES. Lastly, inadequacy of RANS for mixed type of flows has been highlighted.