This paper focuses on the flow within the inlet cavity of a turbine rotor tip labyrinth seal of a two stage axial research turbine. Highly resolved, steady and unsteady three-dimensional flow data are presented. The probes used here are a miniature five-hole probe of 0.9 mm head diameter and the novel virtual four sensor fast response aerodynamic probe (FRAP) with a head diameter of . The cavity flow itself is not only a loss producing area due to mixing and vortex stretching, it also adversely affects the following rotor passage through the fluid that is spilled into the main flow. The associated fluctuating mass flow has a relatively low total pressure and results in a negative incidence to the rotor tip blade profile section. The dominating kinematic flow feature in the region between cavity and main flow is a toroidal vortex, which is swirling at high circumferential velocity. It is fed by strong shear and end wall fluid from the pressure side of the stator passage. The static pressure field interaction between the moving rotor leading edges and the stator trailing edges is one driving force of the cavity flow. It forces the toroidal vortex to be stretched in space and time. A comprehensive flow model including the drivers of this toroidal vortex is proposed. This labyrinth seal configuration results in about 1.6% turbine efficiency reduction. This is the first in a series of papers focusing on turbine loss mechanisms in shrouded axial turbines. Additional measurements have been made with variations in seal clearance gap. Initial indications show that variation in the gap has a major effect on flow structures and turbine loss.
Unsteady Flow Interactions Within the Inlet Cavity of a Turbine Rotor Tip Labyrinth Seal
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Pfau, A., Schlienger, J., Rusch, D., Kalfas, A. I., and Abhari, R. S. (March 1, 2003). "Unsteady Flow Interactions Within the Inlet Cavity of a Turbine Rotor Tip Labyrinth Seal." ASME. J. Turbomach. October 2005; 127(4): 679–688. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2008973
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