RESEARCH PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Combustion and Fuels

An Experimental/Computational Study of Airflow in the Combustor–Diffuser System of a Gas Turbine for Power Generation

[+] Author and Article Information
A. K. Agrawal

School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019

J. S. Kapat

MMAE Department, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816

T. T. Yang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29630

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 120(1), 24-33 (Jan 01, 1998) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2818084 History: Received February 01, 1996; Online November 19, 2007


This paper presents an experimental/computational study of cold flow in the combustor–diffuser system of industrial gas turbines employing can-annular combustors and impingement-cooled transition pieces. The primary objectives were to determine flow interactions between the prediffuser and dump chamber, to evaluate circumferential flow nonuniformities around transition pieces and combustors, and to identify the pressure loss mechanisms. Flow experiments were conducted in an approximately one-third geometric scale, 360-deg annular test model simulating practical details of the prototype including the support struts, transition pieces, impingement sleeves, and can-annular combustors. Wall static pressures and velocity profiles were measured at selected locations in the test model. A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic analysis employing a multidomain procedure was performed to supplement the flow measurements. The complex geometric features of the test model were included in the analysis. The measured data correlated well with the computations. The results revealed strong interactions between the prediffuser and dump chamber flows. The prediffuser exit flow was distorted, indicating that the uniform exit conditions typically assumed in the diffuser design were violated. The pressure varied circumferentially around the combustor casing and impingement sleeve. The circumferential flow nonuniformities increased toward the inlet of the turbine expander. A venturi effect causing flow to accelerate and decelerate in the dump chamber was also identified. This venturi effect could adversely affect impingement cooling of the transition piece in the prototype. The dump chamber contained several recirculation regions contributing to the losses. Approximately 1.2 dynamic head at the prediffuser inlet was lost in the combustor–diffuser, much of it in the dump chamber where the fluid passed though narrow pathways. A realistic test model and three-dimensional analysis used in this study provided new insight into the flow characteristics of practical combustor–diffuser systems.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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