Compressor tip clearance for a gas turbine engine application is the radial gap between the stationary compressor casing and the rotating blades. The gap varies significantly during different operating conditions of the engine due to centrifugal forces on the rotor and differential thermal expansions in the discs and casing. The tip clearance in the axial flow compressor of modern commercial civil aero-engines is of significance in terms of both mechanical integrity and performance. In general, the clearance is of critical importance to civil airline operators and their customers alike because as the clearance between the compressor blade tips and the casing increases, the aerodynamic efficiency will decrease and therefore the specific fuel consumption and operating costs will increase. This paper reports on the development of a range of concepts and their evaluation for the reduction and control of tip clearance in H.P. compressors using an enhanced heat transfer coefficient approach. This would lead to improvement in cruise tip clearances. A test facility has been developed for the study at the University of Sussex, incorporating a rotor and an inner shaft scaled down from a Rolls-Royce Trent aero-engine to a ratio of 0.7:1 with a rotational speed of up to 10000 rpm. The idle and maximum take-off conditions in the square cycle correspond to in-cavity rotational Reynolds numbers of 3.1×106 ≤ Reφ ≤ 1.0×107. The project involved modelling of the experimental facilities, to demonstrate proof of concept. The analysis shows that increasing the thermal response of the high pressure compressor (HPC) drum of a gas turbine engine assembly will reduce the drum time constant, thereby reducing the re-slam characteristics of the drum causing a reduction in the cold build clearance (CBC), and hence the reduction in cruise clearance. A further reduction can be achieved by introducing radial inflow into the drum cavity to further increase the disc heat transfer coefficient in the cavity; hence a further reduction in disc drum time constant.

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