Fouling in compressor blades due to dirt deposition is a major issue in land-based gas turbines as it impedes the compressor performance and degrades the overall engine efficiency. The online water washing approach is an effective alternate for early-stage compressor blade cleaning and to optimize the time span between offline washing and peak availability. In such case, typically a series of flat-fan nozzles are used at the engine bell mouth to inject water sprays into the inflowing air. However, optimizing the injector operating conditions is not a straightforward task mainly due to the tradeoff between blade cleaning effectiveness and material erosion. In this context, the knowledge on spray characteristics prior to blade impingement play a vital role, and the experimental spray characterization is crucial not only to understand the basic process but also to validate numerical models and simulations. The present paper investigates spray characteristics in a single flat-fan nozzle operated in the presence of a coflowing air within a wind-tunnel. A parametric investigation is carried out using different air flow velocity in the tunnel and inlet water temperature, while the liquid flow rate was maintained constant. The spray cone angle and liquid breakup length are measured using back-lit photography. The high-speed shadowgraphy technique is used for capturing the droplet images downstream of the injector exit. The images are processed following depth-of-filed correction to measure droplet size distribution. Droplet velocity is measured by the particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) technique. As both droplet size and velocity are known, the cross-stream evolution of local droplet mass and momentum flux are obtained at different axial locations which form the basis for studying the effectiveness of the blade cleaning process due to droplet impingement on a coupon coated with foulant of known mass.

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