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Research Papers

J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011001-011001-9. doi:10.1115/1.4033974.

Facilities such as the Turbine Research Facility (TRF) at the Air Force Research Laboratory have been acquiring uncooled heat transfer measurements on full-scale metallic airfoils for several years. The addition of cooling flow to this type of facility has provided new capabilities and new challenges. Two primary challenges for cooled rotating hardware are that the true local film temperature is unknown, and cooled thin-walled metallic airfoils prohibit semi-infinite heat conduction calculation. Extracting true local adiabatic effectiveness and the heat transfer coefficient from measurements of surface temperature and surface heat transfer is therefore difficult. In contrast, another cooling parameter, the overall effectiveness (ϕ), is readily obtained from the measurements of surface temperature, internal coolant temperature, and mainstream temperature. The overall effectiveness is a normalized measure of surface temperatures expected for actual operating conditions and is thus an important parameter that drives the life expectancy of a turbine component. Another issue is that scaling ϕ from experimental conditions to engine conditions is dependent on the heat transfer through the part. It has been well-established that the Biot number must be matched for the experimentally measured ϕ to match ϕ at engine conditions. However, the thermal conductivity of both the metal blade and the thermal barrier coating changes substantially from low-temperature to high-temperature engine conditions and usually not in the same proportion. This paper describes a novel method of replicating the correct thermal behavior of the thermal barrier coating (TBC) relative to the metal turbine while obtaining surface temperature measurements and heat fluxes. Furthermore, this paper describes how the ϕ value obtained at the low-temperature conditions can be adjusted to predict ϕ at high-temperature engine conditions when it is impossible to match the Biot number perfectly.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011002-011002-10. doi:10.1115/1.4034029.

This paper presents a numerical study on blade vibration for the transonic compressor rig at the Technische Universität Darmstadt (TUD), Darmstadt, Germany. The vibration was experimentally observed for the second eigenmode of the rotor blades at nonsynchronous frequencies and is simulated for two rotational speeds using a time-linearized approach. The numerical simulation results are in close agreement with the experiment in both cases. The vibration phenomenon shows similarities to flutter. Numerical simulations and comparison with the experimental observations showed that vibrations occur near the compressor stability limit due to interaction of the blade movement with a pressure fluctuation pattern originating from the tip clearance flow. The tip clearance flow pattern travels in the backward direction, seen from the rotating frame of reference, and causes a forward traveling structural vibration pattern with the same phase difference between blades. When decreasing the rotor tip gap size, the mechanism causing the vibration is alleviated.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011003-011003-12. doi:10.1115/1.4034185.

Unsteady blade row interactions play an important role in the performance of multistage turbomachinery. However, most aerodynamic optimizations of multistage turbomachinery are based on mixing-plane steady flow simulations. To take into account the unsteady flow features in the optimization cycle, this paper develops an adjoint-based unsteady aerodynamic optimization system for multistage turbomachinery. To the authors' best knowledge, this is the first work in the literature conducting the unsteady adjoint aerodynamic optimization of multistage turbomachinery. The unsteady flow equations and the discrete adjoint equations are solved using a finite volume code, with the harmonic balance method adopted to reduce the cost of unsteady simulations. The system is applied to the unsteady aerodynamic optimization of a 1.5-stage compressor. Results show the efficiency and capability of the proposed framework for the unsteady aerodynamic optimization of multistage turbomachinery.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011004-011004-9. doi:10.1115/1.4034233.

The design of modern gas turbines cooling systems cannot be separated from the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the accurate estimation of the effect of film cooling. Nevertheless, a complete modeling of film cooling holes within the computational domain requires an effort both from the point of view of the mesh creation and from computational time. It is here proposed a new way to model the film cooling (FCM), capable of representing the effect of the coolant at hole exit. This is possible due to the introduction of local source terms near the hole exit in a delimited portion of the domain, avoiding the meshing process of perforations. The goal is to provide a reliable and accurate tool to simulate film-cooled turbine blades and nozzles without having to explicitly mesh the holes. The model was subjected to an intensive validation campaign, composed of two phases. During the first one, FCM results are compared to experimental data and numerical results (obtained with complete cooling holes meshing) on a series of test cases reproducing flat plate cooling configurations for different coolant conditions (in terms of blowing and density ratio). In the second phase, a film-cooled vane test case has been studied, in order to consider a real injection system and flow conditions: FCM predictions are compared to an in-house developed correlative approach and full conjugate heat transfer (CHT) results. Finally, a comparison between FCM predictions and experimental data was performed on an actual nozzle of a GE Oil & Gas heavy-duty gas turbine, in order to prove the feasibility of the procedure. The presented film cooling model (FCM) proved to be a feasible and reliable tool, able to evaluate adiabatic effectiveness, simplifying the design phase avoiding the meshing process of perforations.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011005-011005-11. doi:10.1115/1.4034190.

Knowing the heat transfer coefficient augmentation is imperative to predicting film cooling performance on turbine components. In the past, heat transfer coefficient augmentation was generally measured at unit density ratio to keep measurements simple and uncertainty low. Some researchers have measured heat transfer coefficient augmentation while taking density ratio effects into account, but none have made direct temperature measurements of the wall and adiabatic wall to calculate hf/h0 at higher density ratios. This work presents results from measuring the heat transfer coefficient augmentation downstream of shaped holes with a 7 deg forward and lateral expansion at DR = 1.0, 1.2, and 1.5 on a flat plate using a constant heat flux surface. The results showed that the heat transfer coefficient augmentation was low while the jets were attached to the surface and increased when the jets started to separate. At DR = 1.0, hf/h0 was higher for a given blowing ratio than at DR = 1.2 and DR = 1.5. However, when velocity ratios are matched, better correspondence was found at the different density ratios. Surface contours of hf/h0 showed that the heat transfer was initially increased along the centerline of the jet, but was reduced along the centerline at distances farther downstream. The decrease along the centerline may be due to counter-rotating vortices sweeping warm air next to the heat flux plate toward the center of the jet, where they sweep upward and thicken the thermal boundary layer. This warming of the core of the coolant jet over the heated surface was confirmed with thermal field measurements.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011006-011006-11. doi:10.1115/1.4034311.

Flow in an intermediate turbine duct (ITD) is highly complex, influenced by the upstream turbine stage flow structures, which include tip leakage flow and nonuniformities originating from the upstream high pressure turbine (HPT) vane and rotor. The complexity of the flow structures makes predicting them using numerical methods difficult, hence there exists a need for experimental validation. To evaluate the flow through an intermediate turbine duct including a turning vane, experiments were conducted in the Oxford Turbine Research Facility (OTRF). This is a short duration high speed test facility with a 3/4 engine-sized turbine, operating at the correct nondimensional parameters for aerodynamic and heat transfer measurements. The current configuration consists of a high pressure turbine stage and a downstream duct including a turning vane, for use in a counter-rotating turbine configuration. The facility has the ability to simulate low-NOx combustor swirl at the inlet to the turbine stage. This paper presents experimental aerodynamic results taken with three different turbine stage inlet conditions: a uniform inlet flow and two low-NOx swirl profiles (different clocking positions relative to the high pressure turbine vane). To further explain the flow through the 1.5 stage turbine, results from unsteady computational fluid dynamics (CFD) are included. The effect of varying the high pressure turbine vane inlet condition on the total pressure field through the 1.5 stage turbine, the intermediate turbine duct vane loading, and intermediate turbine duct exit condition are discussed and CFD results are compared with experimental data. The different inlet conditions are found to alter the flow exiting the high pressure turbine rotor. This is seen to have local effects on the intermediate turbine duct vane. With the current stator–stator vane count of 32-24, the effect of relative clocking between the two is found to have a larger effect on the aerodynamics in the intermediate turbine duct than the change in the high pressure turbine stage inlet condition. Given the severity of the low-NOx swirl profiles, this is perhaps surprising.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011007-011007-9. doi:10.1115/1.4034342.

The role of additive manufacturing for the hot section components of gas turbine engines grows ever larger as progress in the industry continues. The opportunity for the heat transfer community is to exploit the use of additive manufacturing in developing nontraditional cooling schemes to be built directly into components. This study investigates the heat transfer and pressure loss performance of additively manufactured wavy channels. Three coupons, each containing channels of a specified wavelength (length of one wave period), were manufactured via direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and tested at a range of Reynolds numbers. Results show that short wavelength channels yield high pressure losses, without corresponding increases in heat transfer, due to the flow structure promoted by the waves. Longer wavelength channels offer less of a penalty in pressure drop with good heat transfer performance.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011008-011008-9. doi:10.1115/1.4034553.

Self-adaptive stability control with discrete tip air injection and online detection of prestall inception is experimentally studied in a low-speed axial flow compressor. The control strategy is to sense the cross-correlation coefficient of the wall static pressure patterns and to feed back the signal to an annular array of eight separately proportional injecting valves. The real-time detecting algorithm based on cross-correlation theory is proposed and experimentally conducted using the axisymmetric arrangement of time-resolved sensors. Subsequently, the sensitivity of the cross-correlation coefficient to the discrete tip air injection is investigated. Thus, the control law is formed on the basis of the cross-correlation as a function of the injected momentum ratios. The steady injection and the on–off pulsating injection are simultaneously selected for comparison. Results show that the proposed self-adaptive stability control using digital signal processing (DSP) controller can save energy when the compressor is stable. This control also provides protection when needed. With nearly the same stall margin improvement (SMI) as the steady injection (maximum SMI is 44.2%), the energy of the injected air is roughly a quarter of the steady injection. Unlike the on–off pulsating jet, the new actuating scheme can reduce the unsteady force impinging onto the compressor blades caused by the pulsating jets in addition to achieve the much larger stability range extension.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011009-011009-11. doi:10.1115/1.4034411.

Effect of turbine endwall contouring on its aerodynamic performance has been widely studied, but only a few studies are available in the open literature investigating its effect on heat transfer performance; especially at transonic exit Mach number conditions. In this paper, we report a study of effect of contouring on endwall heat transfer performance of a high-turning high-pressure (HP) turbine blade passage operating under transonic exit conditions. The paper describes comparison of heat transfer performance of two contoured endwall geometries, one aerodynamically optimized (AO) and the other heat transfer optimized (HTO), with a baseline, noncontoured geometry. The endwall geometries were experimentally investigated at Virginia Tech's transient, blow down, transonic linear cascade facility at three exit Mach numbers, Mex= 0.71, 0.88(design) and 0.95, for their heat transfer performance. Endwall surface temperatures were measured using infrared (IR) thermography and local heat transfer coefficient (HTC) values were calculated using measured temperatures. A camera matrix model-based data postprocessing technique was developed to relate the two-dimensional images captured by IR camera to three-dimensional endwall contours. The measurement technique and the methodology for postprocessing of the heat transfer coefficient data have been presented in detail. Discussion and interpretation of experimental results have been augmented using aerodynamic CFD simulations of the geometries. Both the contoured endwalls demonstrated a significant reduction in the overall average heat transfer coefficient values of the order of 10%. The surface Stanton number distributions also indicated a reduction in the level of hot spots for most of the endwall surface. However, at some locations an increase was also observed, especially in the area near the leading edge (LE). The results indicate that the endwall contouring could significantly improve heat transfer performance of turbine passages.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011010-011010-11. doi:10.1115/1.4034341.

The present paper deals with the numerical and experimental investigation of the effect of return channel (RCH) dimensions of a centrifugal compressor stage on the aerodynamic performance. Three different return channel stages were investigated, two stages comprising three-dimensional (3D) return channel blades and one stage comprising two-dimensional (2D) RCH vanes. The analysis was performed regarding both the investigation of overall performance (stage efficiency, RCH total pressure loss coefficient) and detailed flow-field performance. For detailed experimental flow-field investigation at the stage exit, six circumferentially traversed three-hole probes were positioned downstream the return channel exit in order to get two-dimensional flow-field information. Additionally, static pressure wall measurements were taken at the hub and shroud pressure and suction side (SS) of the 2D and 3D return channel blades. The return channel system overall performance was calculated by measurements of the circumferentially averaged 1D flow field downstream the diffuser exit and downstream the stage exit. Dependent on the type of return channel blade, the numerical and experimental results show a significant effect on the flow field overall and detail performance. In general, satisfactory agreement between computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-prediction and test-rig measurements was achieved regarding overall and flow-field performance. In comparison with the measurements, the CFD-calculated stage performance (efficiency and pressure rise coefficient) of all the 3D-RCH stages was slightly overpredicted. Very good agreement between CFD and measurement results was found for the static pressure distribution on the RCH wall surfaces while small CFD-deviations occur in the measured flow angle at the stage exit, dependent on the turbulence model selected.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2016;139(1):011011-011011-10. doi:10.1115/1.4034416.

In the present paper, the results of an experimental and numerical investigation of the hub cavity modes and their migration into the main annulus flow are presented. A one-and-a-half stage, unshrouded and highly loaded axial turbine configuration with three-dimensionally shaped blades and cylindrical end walls has been tested in an axial turbine facility. Both the blade design and the rim seal purge flow path are representative to modern high-pressure gas turbines. The unsteady flow field at the hub cavity exit region has been measured with the fast-response aerodynamic probe (FRAP) for two different rim seal purge flow rates. Furthermore, fast-response wall-mounted pressure transducers have been installed inside the cavity. Unsteady full-annular computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations have been employed in order to complement the experimental work. The time-resolved pressure measurements inside the hub cavity reveal clear cavity modes, which show a strong dependency on the injected amount of rim seal purge flow. The numerical predictions provide information on the origin of these modes and relate them to pronounced ingestion spots around the circumference. The unsteady probe measurements at the rim seal interface show that the signature of the hub cavity induced modes migrates into the main annulus flow up to 30% blade span. Based on that, an aerodynamic loss mechanism has been found, showing that the benefit in loss reduction by decreasing the rim seal purge flow rate is weakened by the presence of turbine hub cavity modes.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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