Optimizing Cooling Passages in Turbine Blades

by Robert Yancey, Michael Dambach, J.S. Rao and Marc Ratzel, Altair Engineering, Inc.;

David Corson, Acusim Software

Abstract

Turbine blades have internal passages that provide cooling during operation in a high

temperature engine. The design of the cooling passages is critical to achieve near uniform

temperature of the blade during operation. The temperature of the blade is dependent on the

thermal properties of the blade material as well as the fluid dynamics of the air circulating in

the cooling passages. Computational optimization methods have successfully been applied

to design lighter and more efficient structures for many aerospace structures. An extension of

these techniques is now applied to guiding the thermal design of a turbine blade by designing

the optimal cooling passage layout. Optimization methods will be applied to determine the

optimum pattern of the cooling passages and then to optimize the size of the individual

cooling passages. The goal is to produce a more thermally efficient turbine blade design that

will produce blades with longer lives and better performance.

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