11th European Conference on Turbomachinery Fluid dynamics & Thermodynamics
Industrial steam turbines are operated over an extremely wide range of operating conditions. In order to ensure safe turbine operation, even in blade resonance condition, conical friction bolts are mounted between blade reinforcements of adjacent last stage low-pressure blades. These part-span connectors (PSC) provide blade damping and coupling. However, additional losses are generated, which affect the performance of the turbine. In this paper, a numerical and experimental study on aerodynamic optimization of PSCs is presented. State-of-the-art three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) applying a nonequilibrium steam model is used to examine the wet steam flow in coupled last stage blading. The one-passage CFD model with parameterized PSC geometry features structured high-resolution hexahedral meshes. Experimental data of measurements with pneumatic multi-hole probes in an industrial steam turbine test rig are used for validation. According to the good agreement between measured and predicted flow field downstream of the last stage rotor blading, the CFD model is valid to capture the loss induced by the PSC. A numerical study on the aerodynamic effects of geometrical variations of PSCs concerning blockage area and shape is presented in this work. Based on this study, a performance assessment of different PSC designs is discussed and numerical results are compared to the loss coefficients predicted by Traupel's analytical correlation, which is widely used in industry.