Modern aero-engines are characterized by compact components (fan, compressor, combustor, and turbine). Such proximity creates a complex interaction between the components and poses a modeling challenge due to the difficulties in identifying a clear interface between components since they are usually modeled separately. From a numerical point of view, the simulation of a complex compact aero-engine system requires interaction between these individual components, especially the combustor-turbine interaction. The combustor is characterized by a subsonic chemically reacting and swirling flow while the high-pressure turbine (HPT) stage has flow which is transonic. Furthermore, the simulation of combustor-turbine interactions is more challenging due to aggressive flow conditions such as non-uniform temperature, non-uniform total-pressure, strong swirl, and high turbulence intensity. The simulation of aero-engines, where combustor-turbine interactions are important, requires a methodology that can be used in a real engine framework while ensuring numerical requirements of accuracy and stability. Conventionally, such a simulation is carried out using one of the two approaches: a combined simulation (or joint-simulation) of the combustor and the HPT geometries, or a co-simulation between the combustor and the turbine with the exchange of boundary conditions between these two separate domains.
The primary objective of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of the joint simulation versus the co-simulation and propose a more practical approach for modeling combustor and turbine interactions. First, a detailed grid independence study with hexahedral and polyhedral meshes is performed to select the required polyhedral mesh. Then, an optimal location of the interface between the combustor and the nozzle guide vane (NGV) is identified. Co-simulations are then performed by exchanging information between the combustor and the NGV at the interface, wherein the combustor is solved using LES while the NGV is solved using RANS. The joint combustor-NGV simulations are solved using LES. The effect of the combustor-NGV interaction on the flow field and hot streak migration is analyzed. The results suggest that the joint simulation is computationally efficient and more accurate since both components are modelled together.