PhD Studentship: An Investigation Into Combined Film And Internal Cooling Of Turbine Blades

University of Bath - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Supervisor: Dr Oliver Pountney

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Amid the backdrop of rising fossil fuel prices and governmental targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, manufacturers of gas turbine engines are under increasing pressure to improve the efficiency of their engines. The thermal efficiency of gas turbine engines increases as the turbine entry temperature (TET) increases – current state-of-the-art engines have TETs approaching 1800°C. Two methods of cooling are employed to enable the blade to operate in the high TET region: film cooling on the wetted surface of the blade; and convective cooling in internal blade passages. The air for this cooling is bled from the compressor at a penalty to engine efficiency; as such, blade designers look to achieve the required levels of cooling for safe operation with the minimal use of cooling air.

Current experimental studies tend to focus on film and internal cooling as separate topics and so there is a lack of published data for validation of the models used to predict blade temperatures. Validated models would enabling blades to be designed with greater confidence, reducing the need for superfluous cooling to account for uncertainty in predictions (this would result in improved efficiencies).

The proposed PhD will design and build a novel experimental facility for making fluid dynamic and heat transfer measurements for coupled film and internal cooling on various engine-representative blade cooling geometries. The rig will be specifically designed for use with the University of Bath’s state-of-the-art EPSRC funded Versatile Fluid Measurement System (VFMS). The VFMS will enable the concentration field and three-component velocities to be measured in the fluid volume near to the film cooling holes, offering data of unprecedented fidelity. The matched-Biot technique will be employed alongside infrared thermography to obtain engine representative non-dimensional temperature profiles.  

This research will provide important information for validation of CFD codes and theoretical models that can be used by the entire gas turbine community. As such, a key objective of this PhD will be to disseminate findings to the wider academic and industrial communities through presentation at conferences and publication in journals.

A Home/EU award will provide full tuition fees, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, and a tax-free maintenance payment of £14,553 (2017-8 rate) for up to 3.5 years.

An Overseas award (3 years): Provides tuition fee, an annual Training Support Fee of £1,000, but no stipend.

The successful applicant will ideally have graduated (or be due to graduate) with an undergraduate Masters first class degree and/or MSc distinction (or overseas equivalent).

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South West England