Vortex Tracking of Purge-Mainstream Interactions in a Rotating Turbine Stage

Alex Mesny, Mark Glozier, Oliver Pountney, James Scobie, Yan Sheng Li, David Cleaver, Carl Sangan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)
32 Downloads (Pure)


The use of purge flow in gas turbines allows for high turbine entry temperatures, which are essential to produce high cycle efficiency. Purge air is bled from the compressor and reintroduced in the turbine to cool vulnerable components. Wheel-spaces are formed between adjacent rotating and stationary discs, with purge air supplied at low radius before exiting into the mainstream gas-path through a rim-seal at the disc periphery. An aerodynamic penalty is incurred as the purge flow egress interacts with the mainstream. This study presents unparalleled three-dimensional velocity data from a single-stage turbine test rig, specifically designed to investigate egress–mainstream interaction using optical measurement techniques. Volumetric velocimetry is applied to the rotating environment with phase-locked measurements used to identify and track the vortical secondary flow features through the blade passage. A baseline case without purge flow is compared to experiments with a 1.7% purge mass fraction; the latter was chosen to ensure a fully sealed wheel-space. A non-localized vortex tracking function is applied to the data to identify the position of the core centroids. The strength of the secondary flow vortices was determined using a circulation criterion on rotated planes aligned to the vortex filaments. The pressure-side leg of the horseshoe vortex and a second vortex associated with the egress flow were identified by the experimental campaign. In the absence of purge flow, the two vortices merged, forming the passage vortex (PV). With the addition of purge flow, the two cores remained independent to 40% of the blade axial chord, while also demonstrating an increased radial migration and intensification of the PV. The egress core was shown to remain closer to the suction-surface with purge flow. Importantly, where the vortex filaments demonstrated strong radial or tangential components of velocity, the circulation level calculated from axial planes underpredicted the true circulation by up to 50%.
Original languageEnglish
Article number041011
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number4
Early online date18 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022


  • axial turbine
  • cavity and leaking flows
  • fluid dynamics in turbine components of gas turbine engines
  • impact on cavity leaking flows on performance
  • measurement advancements
  • measurement techniques
  • purge
  • secondary flows
  • turbine blade
  • volumetric velocimetry
  • vortex tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Vortex Tracking of Purge-Mainstream Interactions in a Rotating Turbine Stage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this