Heat Transfer Performance Improvement Technologies for Hot Gas Path Components in Gas Turbines

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Virginia Tech

In the past few decades, the operating temperatures of gas turbine engines have increased significantly with a view towards increasing the overall thermal efficiency and specific power output. As a result of increased turbine inlet temperatures, the hot gas path components downstream of the combustor section are subjected to high heat loads. Though materials with improved temperature capabilities are used in the construction of the hot gas path components, in order to ensure safe and durable operation, the hot gas path components are additionally supplemented with thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) and sophisticated cooling techniques. The present study focusses on two aspects of gas turbine cooling, namely augmented internal cooling and external film cooling.

One of the commonly used methods for cooling the vanes involves passing coolant air bled from the compressor through serpentine passages inside the airfoils. The walls of the internal cooling passages are usually roughened with turbulence promoters like ribs to enhance heat transfer. Though the ribs help in augmenting the heat transfer, they have an associated pressure penalty as well. Therefore, it is important to study the thermal-hydraulic performance of ribbed internal cooling passages. The first section of the thesis deals with the numerical investigation of flow and heat transfer characteristics in a ribbed two-pass channel. Four different rib shapes- 45° angled, V-shaped, W-shaped and M-shaped, were studied. This study further aims at exploring the performance of different rib-shapes at a large rib pitch-to-height ratio (p/e=16) which has potential applications in land-based gas turbines operating at high Reynolds numbers. Detailed flow and heat transfer analysis have been presented to illustrate how the innate flow physics associated with the bend region and the different rib shapes contribute to heat transfer enhancement in the two-pass channel. The bend-induced secondary flows were observed to significantly affect the flow and heat transfer distribution in the 2nd pass. The thermal-hydraulic performance of V-shaped and 45° angled ribs were better than W-shaped and M-shaped ribs.

The second section of the study deals with the analysis of film cooling performance of different hole configurations on the endwall upstream of a first stage nozzle guide vane. The flow along the endwall of the airfoils is highly complex, dominated by 3-dimensional secondary flows. The presence of complex secondary flows makes the cooling of the airfoil endwalls challenging. These secondary flows strongly influence endwall film cooling and the associated heat transfer. In this study, three different cooling configurations- slot, cylindrical holes and tripod holes were studied. Steady-state experiments were conducted in a low speed, linear cascade wind tunnel. The adiabatic film cooling effectiveness on the endwall was computed based on the spatially resolved temperature data obtained from the infrared camera. The effect of mass flow ratio on the film cooling performance of the different configurations was also explored. For all the configurations, the coolant jets were unable to overcome the strong secondary flows inside the passage at low mass flow ratios. However, the coolant jets were observed to provide much better film coverage at higher mass flow ratios. In case of cylindrical ejection, the effectiveness values were observed to be very low which could be because of jet lift-off. The effectiveness of tripod ejection was comparable to slot ejection at mass flow ratios between 0.5-1.5, while at higher mass flow ratios, slot ejection was observed to outperform tripod ejection.

Computational fluid dynamics, Heat--Transmission, Gas Turbines, Rib Turbulators, Internal Cooling, Endwall, Film Cooling