The aerodynamic performance of an annular S-shaped duct
An experimental investigation has been carried out to determine the aerodynamic performance of an annular S-shaped duct representative of that used to connect the compressor spools of aircraft gas turbine engines. Measurements of both the mean flow and turbulent structure have been obtained using both 5 hole pressure probes and a3 component Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) system. The measurements indicate that development of the flow within the duct is complex and significantly influenced by the combined effects of streamwise pressure gradients and flow curvature. For inlet conditions in which boundary layers are developed along an upstream entry length the static pressure, shear stress and velocity distributions are presented. The data shows that as a result of flow curvature significant streamwise pressure gradients exist within the duct, with this curvature also affecting the generation and suppression of turbulence. The stagnation pressure loss within the duct is also assessed and is consistent with the measured distributions of shear stress. More engine representative conditions are provided by locating a single stage compressor at inlet to the duct. Relative to the naturally developed inlet conditions the flow within the duct is less likely to separate, but mixing out of the compressor blade wakes increases the measured duct loss. With both types of inlet conditions the effect of a radial strut, such as that used for carrying loads and engine services, is also described both in terms of the static pressure distribution along the strut and its contribution to overall loss. The effects of inlet swirl on the flow field that develops within an annular S-shaped duct have also been investigated. By removing the outlet guide vanes from an upstream single stage compressor swirl angles in excess of 30° were generated. Results show that within the S-shaped duct tangential momentum is conserved, leading to increasing swirl velocities through the duct as its radius decreases. Furthermore, this component influences the streamwise velocity as pressure gradients are established to ensure the mean flow follows the duct curvature. Consequently in the critical region adjacent to the inner casing, where separation is most likely to occur, higher streamwise velocities are observed. Within the duct substantial changes also occur to the turbulence field which results in an increased stagnation pressure loss between duct inlet and exit. Data is also presented showing the increasing swirl angles through the duct which has consequences both for the design of the downstream compressor spool and of any radial struts which may be located within the duct.