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The Effect of Blade Row Interaction on Rotor Film Cooling



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In gas turbines, film cooling is required to protect metal parts from hot combustion gases. Reduction in coolant mass flow increases cycle efficiency, and hence reduces greenhouse gas emissions. However, the lifespan of a cooled component is sensitive to the metal temperature within the part. A designer requires predictions of cooling performance to make this compromise, yet present design methods are subject to uncertainty and are not viable without empirical input.

Flow through a turbine is inherently unsteady due to relative motion of stators and rotors, termed blade row interaction. Blade row interaction is not captured in flat-plate and cascade testing, or present design methods, contributing to uncertainty in predicted cooling performance. The aims of this thesis are to establish the mechanisms by which blade row interaction affects rotor film cooling, and quantify their influence on cooling performance in a representative case.

A new experimental rig is developed to facilitate aerodynamic and heat transfer measurements of cooling holes subject to unsteady main-stream boundary conditions. The effect of unsteadiness is set by non-linearity in the hole response. Unsteadiness reduces film effectiveness by up to 31% with cylindrical holes at a low momentum flux ratio, because the response to perturbations is non-linear. Cylindrical holes at a high momentum flux ratio, and fan-shaped holes, are robust to unsteadiness because they respond linearly.

Non-film-resolved computations are used to identify the blade row interaction mechanisms generating unsteady main-stream boundary conditions in a turbine rotor. A quasi-steady model is used to predict instantaneous excursions in cooling hole momentum flux ratio. Fluctuations of at least ±30% are present for all hole locations, due to both upstream vane wake and potential field interaction.

A hybrid URANS–LES computational approach is implemented, validated against experimental data, and applied to a turbine stage cascade model. Compared to steady conditions, blade row interaction reduces rotor film effectiveness: by up to 18% on the pressure side, due to migration of vane coolant across the passage; and by up to 30% on the suction side, due to wake interactions increasing the film mixing rate.





Pullan, Graham


Turbomachinery, Aerodynamics, Film cooling, Heat transfer, Blade row interaction, Turbine


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
EPSRC (1542206)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics