Development of Diagnostic Tools for Use in a Gas Turbine Engine Undergoing Solid Particulate Ingestion

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Virginia Tech


Aircraft propulsion systems can be exposed to a variety of solid particulates while operating in either arid or other hazardous environments. For conventional takeoff and landing aircraft, debris can be ingested directly into the gas turbine powerplant which is exposed to the ambient environment. For helicopters and other vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, rotor down wash presents a particular threat during takeoff and landing operations as significant amounts of groundlevel particles can be entrained in the surrounding air and subsequently ingested into the engine. Prolonged exposure to particle ingestion events leads to premature engine wear and, in extreme cases, rapid engine failure. Expanding our current understanding of these events is the first step to enabling engine manufacturers to mitigate these damage mechanisms through novel engine designs. The work described in this dissertation is aimed at increasing the scientific understanding of these ingestion events through the development of two distinct diagnostic instruments. First, an anisokinetic particle sampling probe is designed to be used for in-situ particle sampling inside of a gas turbine engine compressor. Offtake of particles during engine operation in dusty conditions will provide researchers with an improved understanding of particle breakage tendency and component erosion susceptibility. Both experimental and numerical investigations of the probe present a comprehensive realization of probe performance characteristics. Secondly, a novel particle visualization technique is developed to provide users with particle distribution and particle mass flow estimates at the inlet of a gas turbine engine. This technique yields both time-resolved and time-averaged quantities, allowing users to have a comprehensive account of particles entering the engine.



foreign object damage, engine health monitoring, particle ingestion, particle-laden flow, gas-solid flow