Advanced computer modelling of turbine stator well flow and heat transfer

This research will investigate the complex flow and heat transfer occurring in gas turbines using advanced computational fluid dynamics, and aiming to improve current design methods and understanding in industry.

Start date

1 October 2019


4 years

Application deadline

Funding source

EPSRC and Siemens

Funding information

This is a directly funded project subject to EPSRC eligibility criteria, fees and a stipend of £18,000 p.a. For UK students only.


Industrial gas turbine engines are the source of the most fuel-efficient electrical power generation in the world. These machines generate work by directing their combustion products through multiple stages of blades that turn a shaft that is connected to a generator. The turbine blades are attached along the circumference of a disk, which is exposed to high centrifugal loads due to its high speed and high temperatures due to the proximity to the combustion products. When more than one turbine stage is connected to the shaft, the disks are mechanically connected and a cavity is created in the vicinity of this connection which is referred to as a ‘stator well’. An Industrial Gas Turbine must withstand tens of thousands of hours of safe and reliable service, so understanding the flow conditions and temperatures in the stator well is important. Previous work has shown that complex unsteady flows can occur, with interaction of rotating cavity or seal flow modes and the main gas path flow.

This research will investigate the complex flow and heat transfer occurring in gas turbines, aiming to improve current design methods and understanding in industry. Initial investigations will employ advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to investigate flow regimes relevant to the industrial partner Siemens Power. Where appropriate, comparisons will be made with experimental data from the University of Bath. Further studies are expected to develop and evaluate hybrid modelling strategies suitable for use in industry. These will be physics-based but may include use of correlations of experimental and computational results. 

This project will be conducted in collaboration with Siemens Power and the University of Bath, where complimentary experimental investigations are conducted. Project supervisors are Professor John Chew and Dr Feng Gao. Professor Chew was the founding director of the Rolls-Royce TFSUTC at Surrey from 2003 to 2013, and is an established international authority in turbomachinery thermo-fluid systems and rotating flows. Dr Gao joined the University from Ecole Centrale de Lyon in 2015 and is an expert in large eddy simulation.

The student will join the Centre for Aerodynamics and Environmental Flow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences.

Eligibility criteria

All applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first class or high upper second degree in engineering or mathematics.

Applicants must be from the UK.

How to apply

Applications can be made through our Aerodynamic and Environmental Flow PhD course page. Please state the project title and supervisor clearly on your application.

Initial enquiries should be sent to Professor John Chew (

Aerodynamic and Environmental Flow PhD

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Application deadline

Contact details

John Chew
03 AB 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686284

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