This paper deals with a numerical study aimed at the validation of a computational procedure for the aerothermal characterization of pre-swirl systems employed in axial gas turbines. The numerical campaign focused on an experimental facility which models the flow field inside a direct-flow pre-swirl system. Steady and unsteady simulation techniques were adopted in conjunction with both a standard two-equations RANS/URANS modelling and more advanced approaches such as the Scale-Adaptive-Simulation principle, the SBES and LES. The comparisons between CFD and experiments were done in terms of swirl number development, static and total pressure distributions, receiving holes discharge coefficient and heat transfer on the rotor disc surface. Several operating conditions were accounted for, spanning 0.78·106<Reφ<1.21·106 and 0.123<λt<0.376. Overall the steady-state CFD predictions are in good agreement with the experimental evidences even though it is not able to confidently mimic the experimental swirl and pressure behaviour in some regions. Although the use of unsteady sliding mesh and direct turbulence modelling, would in principle increase the insight in the physical phenomenon, from a design perspective the tradeoff between accuracy and computational costs is not always favourable.

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