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J. Turbomach. 2017;140(2):021001-021001-9. doi:10.1115/1.4038177.

Experimentally evaluating gas turbine cooling schemes is generally prohibitive at engine conditions. Thus, researchers conduct film cooling experiments near room temperature and attempt to scale the results to engine conditions. An increasingly popular method of evaluating adiabatic effectiveness employs pressure sensitive paint (PSP) and the heat–mass transfer analogy. The suitability of mass transfer methods as a substitute for thermal methods is of interest in the present work. Much scaling work has been dedicated to the influence of the coolant-to-freestream density ratio (DR), but other fluid properties also differ between experimental and engine conditions. Most notably in the context of an examination of the ability of PSP to serve as a proxy for thermal methods are the properties that directly influence thermal transport. That is, even with an adiabatic wall, there is still heat transfer between the freestream flow and the coolant plume, and the mass transfer analogy would not be expected to account for the specific heat or thermal conductivity distributions within the flow. Using various coolant gases (air, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon) and comparing with thermal experiments, the efficacy of the PSP method as a direct substitute for thermal measurements was evaluated on a cylindrical leading edge model with compound coolant injection. The results thus allow examination of how the two methods respond to different property variations. Overall, the PSP technique was found to overpredict the adiabatic effectiveness when compared to the results obtained from infrared (IR) thermography, but still reveals valuable information regarding the coolant flow.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;140(2):021002-021002-11. doi:10.1115/1.4038180.

The increased design space offered by additive manufacturing (AM) can inspire unique ideas and different modeling approaches. One tool for generating complex yet effective designs is found in numerical optimization schemes, but until relatively recently, the capability to physically produce such a design had been limited by manufacturing constraints. In this study, a commercial adjoint optimization solver was used in conjunction with a conventional flow solver to optimize the design of wavy microchannels, the end use of which can be found in gas turbine airfoil skin cooling schemes. Three objective functions were chosen for two baseline wavy channel designs: minimize the pressure drop between channel inlet and outlet, maximize the heat transfer on the channel walls, and maximize the ratio between heat transfer and pressure drop. The optimizer was successful in achieving each objective and generated significant geometric variations from the baseline study. The optimized channels were additively manufactured using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) and printed reasonably true to the design intent. Experimental results showed that the high surface roughness in the channels prevented the objective to minimize pressure loss from being fulfilled. However, where heat transfer was to be maximized, the optimized channels showed a corresponding increase in Nusselt number.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;140(2):021003-021003-11. doi:10.1115/1.4038178.

Blade-to-blade interactions in a low-pressure turbine (LPT) were investigated using highly resolved compressible large eddy simulations (LESs). For a realistic setup, a stator and rotor configuration with profiles typical of LPTs was used. Simulations were conducted with an in-house solver varying the gap size between stator and rotor from 21.5% to 43% rotor chord. To investigate the effect of the gap size on the prevailing loss mechanisms, a loss breakdown was conducted. It was found that in the large gap (LG) size case, the turbulence kinetic energy (TKE) levels of the stator wake close to the rotor leading edge were only one third of those in the small gap (SG) case, due to the longer distance of constant area mixing. The small time-averaged suction side separation on the blade, found in the LG case, disappeared in the SG calculations, confirming how stronger wakes can keep the boundary layer attached. The higher intensity wake impinging on the blade, however, did not affect the time-averaged losses calculated using the control volume approach of Denton. On the other hand, losses computed by taking cross sections upstream and downstream of the blade revealed a greater distortion loss generated by the stator wakes in the SG case. Despite the suction side separation suppression, the SG case gave higher losses overall due to the incoming wake turbulent kinetic energy amplification along the blade passage.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
J. Turbomach. 2017;140(2):021004-021004-10. doi:10.1115/1.4038279.

In order to predict oscillating loads on a structure, time-linearized methods are fast enough to be routinely used in design and optimization steps of a turbomachine stage. In this work, frequency-domain time-linearized Navier–Stokes computations are proposed to predict the unsteady separated flow generated by an oscillating bump in a transonic nozzle. The influence of regressive pressure waves on the aeroelastic stability is investigated. This case is representative of flutter of a compressor blade submitted to downstream stator potential effects. The influence of frequency is first investigated on a generic oscillating bump to identify the most unstable configuration. Introducing backward traveling pressure waves, it is then showed that aeroelastic stability of the system depends on the phase shift between the wave's source and the bump motion. Finally, feasibility of active control through backward traveling pressure waves is evaluated. The results show a high stabilizing effect even for low amplitude, opening new perspectives for the active control of choke flutter.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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