Turbo-expanders are widely used as power generators in the field of energy conversion such as organic Rankine cycle (ORC) systems. When the available thermal energy is not sufficient to operate the turbo-expander in full admission, it is much better to operate in partial admission instead of stand-down. However, the performance of the turbo-expander greatly depends on the operating conditions. Among many operating conditions, the flow angle at the nozzle and solidity can be major factors affecting the performance of the expander. In order to investigate the optimal operation conditions, experiments were conducted in a linear cascade apparatus simulating the operation of turbo-expander in partial admission. Three different nozzle flow angles of 58°, 65°, and 72° were adopted, and the experiments were conducted with respective solidities of 1.25, 1.38, and 1.67 at each nozzle flow angle. The cross section of the nozzle was rectangular and the chord of the tested blade was 200 mm. The blades moved in a rotational direction, and the forces on the blades were measured with the surface pressure at steady state. The experimental results showed that the rotational force increased for a larger solidity or for a smaller nozzle flow angle.
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