In modern gas turbines, endwall contouring (EWC) is employed to modify the static pressure field downstream of the vanes and minimise the growth of secondary flow structures developed in the blade passage. Purge flow (or egress) from the upstream rim-seal interferes with the mainstream flow, adding to the loss generated in the rotor. Despite this, EWC is typically designed without consideration of mainstream-egress interactions. The performance gains offered by EWC can be reduced, or in the limit eliminated, when purge air is considered. In addition, EWC can result in a reduction in sealing effectiveness across the rim seal. Consequently, industry is pursuing a combined design approach that encompasses the rim-seal, seal-clearance profile and EWC on the rotor endwall.

This paper presents the design of, and preliminary results from a new single-stage axial turbine facility developed to investigate the fundamental fluid dynamics of egress-mainstream flow interactions. To the authors’ knowledge this is the only test facility in the world capable of investigating the interaction effects between cavity flows, rim seals and EWC. The design of optical measurement capabilities for future studies, employing volumetric velocimetry and planar laser induced fluorescence are also presented. The fluid-dynamically scaled rig operates at benign pressures and temperatures suited to these techniques and is modular. The facility enables expedient interchange of EWC (integrated into the rotor bling), blade-fillet and rim-seals geometries.

The measurements presented in this paper include: gas concentration effectiveness and swirl measurements on the stator wall and in the wheel-space core; pressure distributions around the nozzle guide vanes at three different spanwise locations; pitchwise static pressure distributions downstream of the nozzle guide vane at four axial locations on the stator platform.

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