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Thermo-Mechanical FEA/CFD Coupling of an Interstage Seal Cavity Using Torsional Spring Analogy

[+] Author Affiliations
Dario Amirante, Nicholas J. Hills

University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, UK

Christopher J. Barnes

Rolls-Royce plc, Derby, UK

Paper No. GT2010-22684, pp. 1037-1049; 13 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 4: Heat Transfer, Parts A and B
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4399-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by Rolls-Royce plc


The optimisation of heat transfer between fluid and metal plays a crucial role in gas turbine design. An accurate prediction of temperature for each metal component can help to minimise the coolant flow requirement, with a direct reduction of the corresponding loss in the thermodynamic cycle. Traditionally, in industry fluid and solid simulations are conducted separately. The prediction of metal stresses and temperatures, generally based on finite element analysis, requires the definition of a thermal model whose reliability is largely dependent on the validity of the boundary conditions prescribed on the solid surface. These boundary conditions are obtained from empirical correlations expressing local conditions as a function of working parameters of the entire system, with validation being supplied by engine testing. However, recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of employing coupling techniques, whereby computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to predict the heat flux from the air to the metal, and this is coupled to the thermal analysis predicting metal temperatures. This paper describes an extension of this coupling process, accounting for the thermo-mechanical distortion of the metal through the engine cycle. Two distinct codes, a finite element analysis (FEA) solver for thermo-mechanical analysis and a finite volume solver for CFD, are iteratively coupled to produce temperatures and deformations of the solid part through an engine cycle. At each time step, the CFD mesh is automatically adapted to the FEA prediction of the metal position using efficient spring analogy methods, ensuring the continuity of the coupled process. As an example of this methodology, the cavity flow in a turbine stator well is investigated. In this test case, there is a strong link between the thermo-mechanical distortion, governing the labyrinth seal clearance, and the amount of flow through the stator well, which determines the resulting heat transfer in the stator well. This feedback loop can only be resolved by including the thermo-mechanical distortion within the coupling process.

Copyright © 2010 by Rolls-Royce plc



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