In gas turbine engines, the first-stage vanes usually suffer harsh incoming flow conditions from the combustor with high pressure, high temperature and high turbulence. The combustor-generated high freestream turbulence and strong secondary flows in a gas turbine vane passage have been reported to augment the endwall thermal load significantly.

This paper presents a detailed numerical study on the effects of high freestream turbulence intensity, turbulence length scale, and exit Reynolds number on the endwall secondary flow pattern and heat transfer distribution of a transonic linear turbine vane passage at realistic engine Mach numbers, with a flat endwall no cooling. Numerical simulations were conducted at a range of different operation conditions: six freestream turbulence intensities (Tu = 1%, 5%, 10%, 13%, 16% and 20%), six turbulence length scales (normalized by the vane pitch of Λ/P = 0.01, 0.04, 0.07, 0.12, 0.24, 0.36), and three exit isentropic Mach number (Maex = 0.6, 0.85 and 1.02 corresponding exit Reynolds number Reex = 1.1 × 106, 1.7 × 106 and 2.2 × 106, respectively, based on the vane chord). Detailed comparisons were presented for endwall heat transfer coefficient distribution, endwall secondary flow field at different operation conditions, while paying special attention to the link between endwall thermal load patterns and the secondary flow structures.

Results show that the freestream turbulence intensity and length scale have a significant influence on the endwall secondary flow field, but the influence of the exit Reynolds number is very weak. The Nusselt number patterns for the higher turbulence intensities (Tu = 16%, 20%) appear to be less affected by the endwall secondary flows than the lower turbulence cases. The thermal load distribution in the arc region around the vane leading edge and the banded region along the vane pressure side are influenced most strongly by the freestream turbulence intensity. In general, the higher freestream turbulence intensities make the vane endwall thermal load more uniform. The Nusselt number distribution is only weakly affected by the turbulence length scale when Λ/P is larger than 0.04. The heat transfer level appears to have a significant uniform augmentation over the whole endwall region with the increasing Maex. The endwall thermal load distribution is classified into four typical regions, and the effects of freestream turbulence, exit Reynolds number in each region were discussed in detail.

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