Fluid-dynamics of Turbine Rim Seal Structures: A physical Interpretation Using URANS

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Unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes modeling (URANS) is a valuable and costeffective tool for computational fluid dynamics (CFD), including the investigation of mainstream-cavity interaction in turbines. Despite the gap in accuracy with higher order CFD methodologies, URANS is among the few simulation strategies of industrial interest suitable for predicting ingress/egress over a wide range of conditions. This paper presents a numerical study of the flow-field in the upstream double-radial seal of a 1.5 stage turbine. Various configurations are tested, including nonpurged and purged conditions. Rigor of the approach is ensured by a set of sensitivity analyses, allowing the delineation of a best practice on the use of URANS in rim seal simulations: this includes an assessment of the effects of sector size, cavity domain size, and blade count. Timeaveraged and time-resolved flow predictions capture coherent structures in the rim gap. An association between the three-dimensional (3D) morphology of these structures and different ingress/egress mechanisms is proposed. Regions of enhanced radial activity are identified to correspond with the blade leading edges. A frequency analysis of unsteady pressure signals probed in the rim gap leads to a calculation of the structure number and speed. The structures are synchronous with the disk rotation for nonpurged cases but rotate at slower speed when purge is introduced. The relative number of blades and vanes directly influences the structure count and velocity. The configuration with no blades is characterized by the slowest structures. The calculations have been conducted at three different flow coefficients for the annulus flow. There is a reduction in radial activity and structure speed at lower flow coefficient, fundamentally related to the reduced pressure asymmetry and gradient of swirl across the rim seal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031009
JournalJournal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power: Transactions of the ASME
Issue number3
Early online date23 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


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