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Advancing Additive Manufacturing for Turbine Applications


The high potential for incorporating additive manufacturing (AM) in gas turbine components requires the further understanding of the heat transfer performance in AM parts. This research investigates the effect of build direction, AM process parameters, and part geometry on the heat transfer and pressure loss performance of as built AM internal cooling microchannels. A key characteristic of the AM process is an inherent surface roughness far larger then conventionally fabricated components. Results from these experiments have shown that despite an increase in pressure loss attributed from AM’s larger surface roughness there is a benefit with an increase in heat transfer compared to smooth microchannels. However, the heat transfer does not increase proportionally with friction factor.

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Additively Manufactured Microchannels built in PSU’s CIMP-3D

CT scanned microchannels showing build direction effects

Novel wavy micro-channels were also printed at PSU’s CIMP-3D from an optimized design

There has been a lot of work in our lab looking into the applicability of additive manufacturing to micro-sized cooling channels, which all started with Curtis and Jake. There are a ton of angles at which to come at the challenge of implementing AM for small, internal cooling channels—work in our lab has been focusing on the surface finish (Curtis) and on the ins and outs of the AM process itself (Jake), so I thought perhaps I could come at this challenge from the design point of view. While AM certainly imposes its own set of design constraints, the design space is much wider when you’ve decided to use AM as your manufacturing method. A wide open design space, however, can be a little daunting—where do you even start? This research is posed as kind of a first step into exploring different design methodologies and how they relate to an as-manufactured AM part. As a medium with which to test out these different design approaches, we decided to use micro-sized internal channels. There are many benefits to using microcooling channels…

Film Cooling

The design freedom allowed by additive manufacturing (AM) provides the ability to fabricate complicated and unique components which can be tailored to meet the heat and mass transfer needs of the application. The START lab’s focus on AM film cooling characterization has led to unique film cooling geometry studies which are feasible with the design freedom AM provides. Past START AM film cooling studies have suggested that the overall film cooling effectiveness is dependent on the build direction and scale of the AM film cooling hole. Understanding and controlling the tolerances and roughness produced in AM film cooling holes has the potential to greatly influence turbine cooling technology.

The Public Shaped Hole is a laidback fan-shaped design