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The 11 May 2015

PhD Defense: Charlie KOUPPER – Unsteady multi-component simulations dedicated to the impact of the combustion chamber on the turbine of aeronautical gas turbines

Marie LABADENS |  Cerfacs Salle de conference Jean-Claude André |  

Abstract :
Nowadays, engines powering modern and large commercial or military aircraft essentially rely on gas turbine technologies. Since the first prototypes built in the 40’s, the efficiency and specific power of such engines have improved to the point where each individual module reaches efficiency levels so that any new substantial gain can only be the result of a significant effort, cost or a technological breakthrough. An alternative path for improvement arises if one acknowledges that the engine is in the end a fully integrated system where all components interact with each other, modifying each individual component effective operating condition and efficiency compared to their disassembled versions. With the increasing compactness of new engines such interactions are clearly enhanced and the study of the interactions between engine components (sparsely addressed in the past) becomes a substantial source of gains in overall engine performance. In this context, the engine interface that is today the most critical and that is not adequately covered in an isolated component analysis coincides with the region linking the combustion chamber to the turbine. This region of the engine is indeed the most critical and aggressive part of an engine in terms of pressure, temperature and stresses. The objective of this PhD dissertation is to improve the current characterization of the combustor-turbine interface to assess existing design processes at this interface and help increasing the turbine efficiency. To do so, a new nonreactive Combustor Simulator (CS) representative of modern Lean Burn combustion chambers is developed within the framework of the European project FACTOR (FP7). The flow in this module is then investigated by means of an extensive use of Large Eddy Simulations (LES) and experimentally characterized based on a tri-sector version of the module installed at the University of Florence (Italy). Based on the complementary use of this experiment and LES, a comprehensive and exhaustive database is constructed to qualify advanced simulations and exit chamber quantities useful for the design and understanding of the combustor-turbine interface. Advanced diagnostics and validation procedures taking advantage of the rich time-resolved fields are furthermore proposed in an attempt to improve the existing design process whenever dealing with the interface of the combustor / turbine modules. For example, it is shown at this occasion that it is sometimes possible and necessary to go beyond the simple analysis of mean (and RMS) fields to qualify predictions at this interface. To finish and to go beyond the treatment of this interface, a fully integrated simulation of the CS fitted with a pair of high pressure vanes at its exit is produced to complement our understanding. These purely numerical predictions highlight the impact of the vane potential effect as well as the influence of the vane clocking relative to the fuel injection systems for the specific case of this Lean Burn architecture. This last set of LES highlights the difficulty of adequately apprehending the combustor / turbine interface and confirms that it could ultimately be simulated by use of LES if needed.

Keywords : Gas turbine, LES, turbulence, combustor, turbine


P. BRUEL              Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour           Referee
T. VERSTRAETE  Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics            Referee
B. FACCHINI        Università degli Studi di Firenze                          Member
L. HE                    University of Oxford                                              Member
L. JOLY                ISAE Toulouse                                                     Member
G. BONNEAU      Turbomeca Bordes                                              Invited member

L. GICQUEL        Cerfacs                                                                 Advisor
F. DUCHAINE     Cerfacs                                                                  co-advisor


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