Analysis on the effect of a nonuniform inlet profile on heat transfer and fluid flow in turbine stages

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Salvadori Simone
  • Francesco Montomoli
  • Francesco Martelli
  • Kam S. Chana
  • Tom Povey

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Florence
  • University of Cambridge
  • QinetiQ
  • Department of Engineering Science
  • University of Oxford


This paper presents an investigation of the aerothermal performance of a modern unshrouded high-pressure (HP) aero-engine turbine subject to nonuniform inlet temperature profile. The turbine used for this study was the MT1 turbine installed in the QinetiQ turbine test facility based in Farnborough (UK). The MT1 turbine is a full scale transonic HP turbine, and is operated in the test facility at the correct nondimensional conditions for aerodynamics and heat transfer. Datum experiments of aerothermal performance were conducted with uniform inlet conditions. Experiments with nonuniform inlet temperature were conducted with a temperature profile that had a nonuniformity in the radial direction defined by (T max-T min)/T-=0.355, and a nonuniformity in the circumferential direction defined by (T max-T min)/T-=0.14. This corresponds to an extreme point in the engine cycle, in an engine where the nonuniformity is dominated by the radial distribution. Accurate experimental area surveys of the turbine inlet and exit flows were conducted, and detailed heat transfer measurements were obtained on the blade surfaces and end-walls. These results are analyzed with the unsteady numerical data obtained using the in-house HybFlow code developed at the University of Firenze. Two particular aspects are highlighted in the discussion: prediction confidence for state of the art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and impact of real conditions on stator-rotor thermal loading. The efficiency value obtained with the numerical analysis is compared with the experimental data and a 0.8% difference is found and discussed. A study of the flow field influence on the blade thermal load has also been detailed. It is shown that the hot streak migration mainly affects the rotor pressure side from 20% to 70% of the span, where the Nusselt number increases by a factor of 60% with respect to the uniform case. Furthermore, in this work, it has been found that a nonuniform temperature distribution is beneficial for the rotor tip, contrary to the results found in open literature. Although the hot streak is affected by the pressure gradient across the tip gap, the radial profile (which dominates the temperature profile being considered) is not fully mixed out in passing through the HP stage, and contributes significantly to cooling the turbine casing. A design approach not taking into account these effects will underestimate the rotor life near the tip and the thermal load at midspan. The temperature profile that has been used in both experiments and CFD is the first simulation of an extreme cycle point (more than twice the magnitude of distortion of all previous experimental studies): It represents an engine-take-off condition combined with the full combustor cooling. This research was part of the EU funded Turbine AeroThermal External Flows 2 program.


Original languageEnglish
Article number011012
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2011

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