Analysis of film cooling performance of tripod hole


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Virginia Tech


The thermal efficiency of a gas turbine directly depends on the rotor inlet temperature. The ever increasing demand for more power and advances in the field of engineering enabled this temperature to be pushed higher. But the material strength of the blades and vanes can often impose restrictions on the thermal load it can bear. This is where gas turbine cooling becomes very critical and a better cooling design has the potential to extend the blade life span, enables higher rotor inlet temperatures, conserves compressor bleed air. Among various kinds of cooling involved in gas turbines, film cooling will be the subject of this study.

A novel concept for film cooling holes referred to as anti-vortex design proposed in 2007 is explored in this study. Coolant exits through two bifurcated cylindrical holes that branched out on either side of the central hole resulting in a tripod-like arrangement. Coolant from the side holes interacted with the mainstream and produced vortices that countered the main central rotating vortex pairs, weakening it and pushing the coolant jet towards the surface. In order to understand the performance of this anti-vortex tripod film cooling, a flat plate test setup and a low speed subsonic wind tunnel linear cascade were built.

Transient heat transfer experiments were carried out in the flat plate test setup using Infrared thermography. Film cooling performance was quantified by measuring adiabatic effectiveness and heat transfer coefficient ratio. In order to gauge the performance, other standard hole geometries were also tested and compared with. Following the results from the flat plate test rig, film cooling performance was also evaluated on the surface of an airfoil. Adiabatic effectiveness was measured at different coolant mass flow rates. The tripod hole consistently provided better cooling compared to the standard cylindrical hole in both the flat plate and cascade experiments.

In order to understand the anti-vortex concept which is one of the primary reason behind better performance of the tripod film cooling hole geometry, numerical simulations (CFD) were carried out at steady state using RANS turbulence models. The interaction of the coolant from the side holes with the mainstream forms vortices that tries to suppress the vortex formed by the central hole. This causes the coolant jet from the central to stay close to the surface and increases its coverage. Additionally, the coolant getting distributed into three individual units reduces the exit momentum ratio. Tripod holes were found to be capable of providing better effectiveness even while consuming almost half the coolant used by the standard cylindrical holes.



Heat transfer, film cooling, anti-vortex hole, tripod hole, Computational fluid dynamics