Air Force

Turbine blade cooling

Mini-trench shaped (MTS) hole configuration provides a better distribution of cooling flow over any hot surface

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The durability of gas turbine engines is strongly dependent on the component temperatures. Melt points for common turbine blade materials are exceeded by the combustion temperature to the point where cooling methods must be employed. One such method, film cooling, is used extensively and utilizes cavities inside the airfoils so that cooler air from other gas turbine sections, typically compressor air, can be supplied to those cavities and then discharged through small openings, or film cooling holes. This air provides a thin, cool, insulating blanket along the external surface of the turbine blade.

Trenches especially help with lateral cooling because they increase cooling effectiveness between individual cooling holes as that cooling air is spread over the length of a row of shaped holes without increasing demand for the mass flow of air. Many proposed trench configurations have been tested in recent years, and the best performing configurations so far involve shaped holes in a trench. Investigators at the Air Force Research Lab have advanced film cooling with the state-of-the-art MTS configuration.

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