A full-size, full-speed, axial flow steam turbine test rig capable of measuring turbine thrust, and static pressures in the rotor-stator disk cavity was built and commissioned. The test rig was operated in a single-stage configuration for the test results first reported in Stasenko et al. , and now in this paper. The stage has stationary axial face seals radially inward of the airfoils, near the rotor disk rim. The face seals divide the rotor-stator cavity into inner and outer circumferential cavities, both of which were instrumented with static pressure probes on the stator radial wall. Axial thrust was measured with load cells in every thrust bearing pad.
The test rig was operated over a range of three nominal stage pressure ratios (designated as LPR, MPR, and HPR), five nominal stage velocity ratios (0.25–0.6), and five admission fractions (0.38–0.88). This latest group of tests was conducted without rotor disk balance holes, which were mechanically plugged, and will be compared to the original block of tests with disk balance holes opened.
In the upstream disk cavity, the two disk balance hole configurations shared many similar pressure characteristics: nearly uniform pressures in the inner cavity, circumferential pressure distributions in the outer cavity that corresponded with the direction of axial thrust, and radial pressure distributions in the outer cavity that were a direct function of rotor speed.
General trends of thrust coefficients with the disk holes plugged were correlated to stage pressure ratio, stage velocity ratio, admission fraction, and leakage mass flow rate. Those trends were consistent with the first block of tests with open disk balance holes, although there was an offset toward more operating conditions with negative aggregate thrust coefficients. This suggests that the rotating disk induces a low-pressure gradient in the inner (upstream) cavity, and the opened disk balance holes tend to equalize the inner cavity static pressure toward the higher static pressure on the exit side of the disk.
Additionally, thrust coefficients tended to become less negative (or more positive) with stage pressure ratio and with velocity ratio, but tended to become more negative with admission fraction. Significant thrust coefficient reductions were realized with the open disk balance hole configuration, and were determined to be consistently speed-dependent.