Secondary flow structures account for nearly 50% of aerodynamic losses experienced in the turbine blade passages. The adverse effects of these vortex structures transport the hot mainstream fluid towards the endwall blade surfaces, which enhances thermal stresses and leads to blade failure. The effects of leading-edge fillets and film-cooling with flush slots located upstream near the leading-edge region were investigated experimentally in the study in a large-scale linear vane cascade in which the aerodynamic flow field was considered. The introduction of slot film flow and fillet aimed to reduce the effects of the secondary flow structures from the leading edge through the passage towards the exit in an effort to decrease the pressure losses, improve film-cooling coverage and flow field uniformity for the next blade row. The two-dimensional vane profile was obtained from the hub-side airfoil of the GE-E3 engine nozzle guide vane. The slots were configured for two experimental cases to evaluate the influence of coolant flow rate and momentum; first, the effects of slot film injection from all four slots were observed and then compared with the second case injecting coolant only through the two central slots. Further effects were investigated by combining slot film-cooling with the leading-edge fillets employed on the endwall blade junction. The flow field measurements were quantified with spatial distributions of axial vorticity, total pressure loss, endwall static pressure and flow angle deviations taken across the cascade passage. The measurements were obtained at a Reynolds number of 2.0E+05 based on the cascade inlet velocity and vane chord length. Film-cooling inlet blowing ratios between 1.1 and 2.3 were investigated with the supply of coolant provided by a secondary channel. Film-cooling results were compared with the baseline case without slot film flow and fillet. The results indicated substantial improvement in the passage and exit planes with high inlet blowing ratios. The introduction of high momentum coolant flow from the central slots was seen to create laterally reversed axial vorticity, thereby counteracting the cross-flow tendency in the passage. The effects at the passage exit showed suppressed vortex structures with slot film injection from the two central slots only, with further improvements in the flow angle deviations. The leading-edge slots were seen to contribute positive axial vorticity, which enhanced the passage vortex that was pushed away from the endwall at the exit. When the fillet was introduced, it had favourable effects in reducing the pitchwise pressure gradients along the endwall. Filleted film-cooling then resulted in a faint passage vortex system (50-80% size and 20-50% strength reduction) with a restored endwall boundary layer at high film flow rates. The leading-edge fillet was highly effective at the inlet of the blade passage because it weakened the horseshoe vortex formation. Thus, upstream slot film-cooling has great potential to decrease the aerodynamic losses and is further compounded with the leading-edge fillet.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2017.