Effects of Sand Ingestion on the Film-Cooling of Turbine Blades
Gas turbine engines for propulsion operate under harsh conditions including gas temperatures that exceed the melting point of the metal, high mechanical stresses, and particulate ingestion such as sand. To maintain a low and uniform metal temperature to extend the life of a turbine component, a complex scheme of internal convective cooling and external film-cooling is required. Gas turbine engines operated in sandy or dusty environments can ingest a large quantity of sand into the mainstream and, more importantly, into the cooling system. Sand ingested into the coolant system has the potential to reduce or block off the flow intended to cool the turbine blades or vanes. If the source of coolant air to a critical region of a turbine blade were partially blocked, it would result in a substantial reduction in component life.
This study includes establishing a methodology for testing sand ingestion characteristics on a simulated turbine component with film-cooling holes at room temperature and engine temperatures. The study evaluates a simple array of laser drilled film-cooling holes, similar to a showerhead on the leading edge of an airfoil. The blocking characteristics of this design indicate that increasing the airflow or decreasing the sand amount results in a decreased blockage. It was also determined that as the metal temperature increases, the blockage from a given amount of sand increases.
The methodology used in the primary portion of this thesis was modified to test sand ingestion characteristics on actual turbine blades with film-cooling holes at room temperature and engine temperatures. The study evaluated the blockage performance of several different turbine blades including the F-100-229-full, F-100-229-TE, and the F-119 with a new trailing edge cooling methodology know as a microcircuit. It was shown that increasing the airflow or pressure ratio, or decreasing the sand amount would result in decreased blockage. It was also shown that over a certain metal and coolant temperature, the blockage is significantly worsened. However, it was also shown on the F-119 turbine blade that below a given metal temperature, there is no impact of metal or coolant temperature on sand blockage.