Unsteadiness in condensing flow: Dynamics of internal flows with phase transition and application to turbomachinery

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Steady flows of condensable fluids may become unsteady if one component of the fluid starts to condense. In high-speed expansion flows, typical for large-scale steam turbines, the subcooled vapour state collapses after nucleation, typically in flow regimes close to Mach number 1. After the formation of steady shocks, instantaneous thermal choking initiates self-excited high-frequency oscillations which is the focus of this article. The driving mechanism is the interaction of compressibility and energy supply in flows close to maximum mass flux density and is therefore not controlled by the viscosity of the fluid. Additional viscosity-driven excitation mechanisms exist and superpose the primary diabatic instability, especially in axial cascades. Typical are shedded shear layers from blade trailing edges and the periodic interference of wakes separating from the stator with the rotor blades. This article presents a review of the authors and various co-workers' research, supplemented by important references to complete the subject under consideration. This article starts with an introduction in the most simple flow model of given heat addition in constant area flow and ends with mixed homogeneous/heterogeneous condensation in a transonic axial cascade stage with a high-resolution sliding interface for preservation of submicron condensate convected from the stator into the rotor. Numerical simulations are compared with experiments of flows with and without carrier gas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberC09205
Pages (from-to)1369-1410
Number of pages42
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Instability
  • Moving shocks
  • Self-excited oscillations
  • Thermal choking
  • Transonic two-phase flow


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