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Research Papers

Operation of Gas Turbine Engines in an Environment Contaminated With Volcanic Ash

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael G. Dunn1

 The Ohio State University,Gas Turbine Laboratory, OH 43235, Columbus e-mail: dunn.129@osu.edu

1

Corresponding author.

J. Turbomach 134(5), 051001 (May 07, 2012) (18 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006236 History: Received December 02, 2011; Revised February 14, 2012; Published May 07, 2012; Online May 07, 2012

Airborne volcanic ash poses a significant threat to the safe operation of gas turbine powered aircraft. Recent volcanic activity in Iceland and other parts of the world have resulted in interruption of air traffic and in the case of the April 2010 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, the interruption resulted in a significant loss of revenue. Over the past 30 years there have been several events involving commercial aircraft that have suffered significant damage to the propulsion system as a result of ingesting volcanic ash during a flight event, but a relevant engine focused database to provide guidance for dealing with the problem has not been generally available until recently. In Sept. 2010 after the Iceland volcano activity, a body of data that had not been in the public domain was released and those measurements that are described in some detail herein can be helpful to the airlines, the aircraft manufacturers, the engine manufacturers, those responsible for flight operations, and hopefully to the flight crews. The intent of this paper is to describe some of the more notable aircraft/ash cloud events, the available data associated with those encounters and how those data can be used to effectively deal with this problem while maintaining safe flight operations. The paper specifically (a) illustrates the engine damage mechanisms, (b) estimates the potential operational life of a particular class of engines if the ash concentration is at a very low level, and (c) illustrates how this database is helpful in dealing with future interruptions of flight routes caused by volcanic eruptions. A section at the end of this paper provides the comments and concerns of the industry and government stakeholders regarding this general problem area.

Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Engines , Dust
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References

Figures

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Figure 24

Photograph of carbon deposits on fuel nozzles for P/W F100 S/N P680043 for which 21 attempts to re-start engine were unsuccessful

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Figure 25

Deposits on high-pressure turbine vane leading edge for P/W F100 S/N P680054

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Figure 26

Comparison of laboratory deposits with flight deposits

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Figure 27

Particle size distribution at the 5th stage ECS duct for YF101 engine

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Figure 28

Particle size distribution at the 9th stage ECS duct for YF101 engine

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Figure 29

Time history of compressor discharge pressure and pyrometer temperature during surge event for GE YF101 engine

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Figure 30

Photograph of YF101 S/N GEE470049 stage 5 through stage 9 compressor airfoils after dust exposure

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Figure 31

Photograph of YF101 S/N GEE470058 9th stage airfoils after dust exposure and multiple surge events

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Figure 32

Front view of deposition on high-pressure turbine vane of YF101 S/N GEE470058

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Figure 33

Rear view of deposition on high-pressure turbine vane of YF101 S/N GEE470058

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Figure 34

Photograph of YF101 S/N GEE470058 HP turbine blades after dust exposure

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Figure 35

Time history of YF101 engine controller during dust exposure

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Figure 36

Williams YF112 initial series of surges

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Figure 37

Surge precursor for Williams YF112 engine

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Figure 38

Photograph of erosion damage to YF112 S/N E002 diffuser after dust exposure

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Figure 39

Substantial fine deposits found within internal cavities of YF112 S/N E002

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Figure 40

Photograph of YF112 S/N E001 vane row after dust exposure

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Figure 23

Post-exposure photograph for P/W F100 S/N P580043 9th stage compressor airfoils

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Figure 22

Post-exposure photograph for P/W F100 S/N P680043 7th stage compressor airfoils

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Figure 21

Post-test photograph of 9th stage compressor blade tip folding of thinned trailing edges for P/W F100 S/N P680071

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Figure 20

Post-test photograph of 4th stage compressor blade tip P/W F100, S/N P680071: middle blade is new blade & Outer blades are worn

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Figure 19

Photograph of tailpipe taken during late part of a surge event

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Figure 18

Photograph of tailpipe during early part of surge event

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Figure 17

Compressor discharge pressure and FTIT prior to and during multiple surge events

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Figure 16

Burner pressure and FTIT just prior to and during surge events

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Figure 15

Time history of engine during throttle cycling to remove deposits

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Figure 14

Time history of engine parameters with throttle at idle position

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Figure 13

Time history of FTIT and EPR for longer dust exposure time

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Figure 12

Time history of engine parameters for longer exposure time

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Figure 11

Burner pressure history for increased dust concentration

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Figure 10

Time history of FTIT and EPR during dust exposure

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Figure 9

Time history of engine parameters during dust exposure

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Figure 8

Close-up view of St. Elmo’s glow at face of TF33 engine

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Figure 7

St. Elmo’s glow at face of P/W TF33 engine

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Figure 6

Average particle sizes in ECS for P/W TF33 engine

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Figure 5

Photograph of ECS duct from P/W TF33 S/N 644908 engine after dust exposure

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Figure 4

SEM and elemental composition spectrum of Eyjafjallajökull ash

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Figure 3

SEM and elemental composition spectrum of Twin Mountain New Mexico ash

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Figure 2

SEM and elemental composition spectrum of Mt. St. Helens ash

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Figure 1

Potential damage mechanisms when traversing an ash cloud for an engine with turbine inlet temperature in excess of ≈ 2310 °R

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