Evaluating the effect of vane trailing edge flow on turbine rim sealing

Iván Monge-Concepción, Reid A. Berdanier, Michael D. Barringer, Karen A. Thole, Christopher Robak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Modern gas turbine development continues to move toward increased overall efficiency, driven in part by higher firing temperatures that point to a need for more cooling air to prevent catastrophic component failure. However, using additional cooling flow bled from the upstream compressor causes a corresponding detriment to overall efficiency. A primary candidate for cooling flow optimization is purge flow, which contributes to sealing the stator-rotor cavity and prevents ingestion of hot main gas path (MGP) flow into the wheelspace. Previous research has identified that the external main gas path flow physics play a significant role in driving rim seal ingestion. However, the potential impact of other cooling flow features on ingestion behavior, such as vane trailing edge (VTE) flow, is absent in the open literature. This paper presents experimental measurements of rim cavity cooling effectiveness collected from a one-stage turbine operating at engine-representative Reynolds and Mach numbers. Carbon dioxide (CO2) was used as a tracer gas in both the purge flow and vane trailing edge flow to investigate flow migration into and out of the wheelspace. Results show that the vane trailing edge flow does in fact migrate into the rim seal and that there is a superposition relationship between individual cooling flow contributions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations using unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (URANS) were used to confirm VTE flow ingestion into the rim seal cavity. Radial and circumferential traverse surveys were performed to quantify cooling flow radial migration through the main gas path with and without vane trailing edge flow. The surveys confirmed that vane trailing edge flow is entrained into the wheelspace as purge flow is reduced. Local CO2 measurements also confirmed the presence of VTE flow deep in the wheelspace cavity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081001
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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