The design of an effective diffuser for a given last stage blade of an LP turbine is known to be highly dependent on the size and shape of the exhaust hood in which it is located. For retrofit steam turbines in particular, where a new last stage blade and diffuser are fitted into an existing exhaust hood, the shapes and sizes of the exhaust box have been seen to vary significantly from one contract to the next. An experimental parametric study of diffuser lips and exhaust hood configurations has been run on a model test turbine rig at GE Power to investigate the impact of various geometric parameters on the performance of the diffusers. Improved testing and post-processing methodologies means the diffuser performance has been obtained for a greater number of geometric configurations than was previously typically possible. The results of these experiments are compared with numerical calculations and confirm the accuracy of the standard in-house diffuser design tools. Key geometric parameters are identified from the test data and used to generate improved diffuser design guidelines.

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