An Experimental Study of Tip Clearance Flow in a Radial Inflow Turbine PUBLIC ACCESS

[+] Author Affiliations
R. Dambach, H. P. Hodson

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

I. Huntsman

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Paper No. 98-GT-467, pp. V001T01A110; 8 pages
  • ASME 1998 International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition
  • Volume 1: Turbomachinery
  • Stockholm, Sweden, June 2–5, 1998
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-7862-0
  • Copyright © 1998 by ASME


This paper describes an experimental investigation of tip clearance flow in a radial inflow turbine. Flow visualisation and static pressure measurements were performed. These were combined with hot-wire traverses into the tip gap. The experimental data indicates that the tip clearance flow in a radial turbine can be divided into three regions. The first region is located at the rotor inlet, where the influence of relative casing motion dominates the flow over the tip. The second region is located towards midchord, where the effect of relative casing motion is weakened. Finally a third region exists in the exducer, where the effect of relative casing motion becomes small and the leakage flow resembles the tip flow behaviour in an axial turbine.

Integration of the velocity profiles showed that there is little tip leakage in the first part of the rotor because of the effect of scraping. It was found that the bulk of tip leakage flow in a radial turbine passes through the exducer. The mass flow rate, measured at four chordwise positions, was compared with a standard axial turbine tip leakage model. The result revealed the need for a model suited to radial turbines. The hot-wire measurements also indicated a higher tip gap loss in the exducer of the radial turbine. This explains why the stage efficiency of a radial inflow turbine is more affected by increasing the radial clearance than by increasing the axial clearance.

Copyright © 1998 by ASME
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