Higher turbine inlet temperatures are a common method of increasing the thermal efficiency of modern gas turbines. This development not only generates the need for more efficient turbine blade cooling but also demands a more profound knowledge of the mechanically and thermally stressed parts of the rotor. In order to determine thermal stresses from the temperature distribution in the rotor of a gas turbine, one has to encounter the convective heat transfer in rotor cavities. In the special case of a completely closed gas-filled rotating annulus the convective flow is governed by strong natural convection.
As shown in a previous paper by the authors, and for example by Owen, the presence of turbulence and its inclusion in the modeling of the flow has been found to cause significant differences in the flow development in rotating annuli. This influence in the special case of a closed rotating annulus has been recently investigated by the authors for a moderately high Rayleigh-Number. Based on this work an investigation was undertaken focusing on the development of turbulence and turbulence related changes in the flow structure for increasing Rayleigh-Numbers.
The flow is investigated numerically using a three-dimensional Navier-Stokes solver, based on a pressure correction scheme. To account for the turbulence, a low-Reynolds-number k-ε-model is employed. This model is complemented by an additional term for turbulence production due to buoyancy. The results are compared with experiments performed at the Institute of Steam and Gas Turbines. The computations demonstrate the considerable influence on the overall heat transfer as well as on the local heat transfer distribution.