Solid particle ingestion is one of the principal degradation mechanisms in the compressor and turbine sections of gas turbines. In particular, in industrial applications, the micro-particles not captured by the air filtration system can cause deposits on blades and, consequently, can result in a decrease in compressor performance. It is of great interest to the industry to determine which zones of the compressor blades are impacted by these small particles. However, this information often refers to single stage analysis.

This paper presents three-dimensional numerical simulations of the micro-particle ingestion (0.15 μm – 1.50 μm) in a multistage (i.e. eight stage) subsonic axial compressor, carried out by means of a commercial CFD code. Particle trajectory simulations use a stochastic Lagrangian tracking method that solves the equations of motion separately from the continuous phase.

The effects of humidity, or more generally, the effects of a third substance at the particle/surface interface (which is considered one of the major promoters of fouling) is then studied. The behavior of wet and oiled particles, in addition to the usual dry particles, is taken into consideration. In the dry case, the particle deposition is established only by using the sticking probability. This quantity links the kinematic characteristics of particle impact on the blade with the fouling phenomenon. In the other two cases, the effect of the presence of a third substance at the particle/surface interface is considered by means of an energy-based model. Moreover, the influence of the tangential impact velocity on particle deposition is analyzed.

Introducing the effect of a third substance, such as humidity or oil, the phenomenon of fouling concerns the same areas of the multistage compressor. The most significant results are obtained by combining the effect of the third substance with the effect of the tangential component of the impact velocity of the particles. The deposition trends obtained with these conditions are comparable with those reported in literature, highlighting how the deposits are mainly concentrated in the early stages of a multistage compressor. Particular fluid dynamic phenomena, such as corner separations and clearance vortices, strongly influence the location of particle deposits.

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