Gas Turbine Heat Transfer: Ten Remaining Hot Gas Path Challenges

  • Bunker R
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The advancement of turbine cooling has allowed engine design to exceed normal material temperature limits, but it has introduced complexities that have accentuated the thermal issues greatly. Cooled component design has consistently trended in the direction of higher heat loads, higher through-wall thermal gradients, and higher in-plane thermal gradients. The present discussion seeks to identify ten major thermal issues, or opportunities, that remain for the turbine hot gas path (HGP) today. These thermal challenges are commonly known in their broadest forms, but some tend to be little discussed in a direct manner relevant to gas turbines. These include uniformity of internal cooling, ultimate film cooling, microcooling, reduced incident heat flux, secondary flows as prime cooling, contoured gas paths, thermal stress reduction, controlled cooling, low emission combustor-turbine systems, and regenerative cooling. Evolutionary or revolutionary advancements concerning these issues will ultimately be required in realizable engineering forms for gas turbines to breakthrough to new levels of performance. Herein lies the challenge to researchers and designers. It is the intention of this summary to provide a concise review of these issues, and some of the recent solution directions, as an initial guide and stimulation to further research.

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  • Ronald S. Bunker

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