In low-pressure-turbines (LPT) around 60–70% of losses are generated away from end-walls, while the remaining 30–40% is controlled by the interaction of the blade profile with the end-wall boundary layer. Experimental and numerical studies have shown how the strength and penetration of the secondary flow depends on the characteristics of the incoming end-wall boundary layer. Experimental techniques did shed light on the mechanism that controls the growth of the secondary vortices, and scale-resolving CFD allowed to dive deep into the details of the vorticity generation. Along these lines, this paper discusses the end-wall flow characteristics of the T106 LPT profile at Re = 120K and M = 0.59 by benchmarking with experiments and investigating the impact of the incoming boundary layer state. The simulations are carried out with proven Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) and large-eddy simulation (LES) solvers to determine if Reynolds Averaged models can capture the relevant flow details with enough accuracy to drive the design of this flow region.
Part I of the paper focuses on the critical grid needs to ensure accurate LES, and on the analysis of the overall time averaged flow field and comparison between RANS, LES and measurements when available. In particular, the growth of secondary flow features, the trace and strength of the secondary vortex system, its impact on the blade load variation along the span and end-wall flow visualizations are analysed. The ability of LES and RANS to accurately predict the secondary flows is discussed together with the implications this has on design.