The formation of water droplets within condensing steam turbines is a complex process that occurs at supersaturated, non-equilibrium conditions and is influenced by the unsteady segmentation of blade wakes by successive blade rows. This is often referred to as ‘wake chopping’, and its effect on the condensation process is the subject of this paper. The practical significance is that thermodynamic ‘wetness losses’ (which constitute a major fraction of the overall loss) are strongly affected by droplet size. Likewise, droplet deposition and the various ensuing two-phase phenomena (such as film migration and coarse-water formation) also depend on the spectrum of droplet sizes in the primary fog.

The majority of wake-chopping models presented in the literature adopt a stochastic approach, whereby large numbers of fluid particles are tracked through (some representation of) the turbine flowfield, assigning a random number at each successive blade row to represent the particle’s pitchwise location, and hence its level of dissipation. This study contributes to the existing literature by adding: (a) a comprehensive study of the sensitivity to key model parameters (e.g., blade wake shape and wake decay rate); (b) an assessment of the impact of circumferential pressure variations; (c) a study of the implications for wetness losses and (d) a study of the implications for deposition rates.

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