Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) was analyzed in a first stage rotor blade in an actual gas turbine. The main objectives of this research were to simulate and validate improvements to the accuracy of predicting temperature on the surfaces of rotor blades in a gas turbine and compare these with experimental results.

This simulation was carried out under similar conditions to those during gas turbine operation. Computational grids were generated based on CAD data obtained from the rotor blades with fully resolved rib turbulators and pin fins for both fluid and solid domains during CHT analysis. A tetrahedral mesh with prism layers was used and the y+ of the first mesh adjacent to the wall was kept at less than 1.0 over the whole surface. Thermal barrier coating was modeled by adding thermal resistance at the fluid-solid interfaces. Inlet boundary conditions for the external- and internal-gas-flow regions were defined based on one-dimensional analysis and measured results. Steady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes simulation was carried out using the Shear Stress Transport (SST) turbulence model. The simulated results were compared with measured data obtained from a pyrometer and thermocouple.

The temperature distributions predicted from CHT analysis agreed with those obtained from an experiment near the leading edge of the rotor blades. However, the temperature distribution at the center of the pressure side had a difference of 50 K with that obtained from the experimental data. The heat transfer coefficients on the surfaces of the blades were almost equal to those on the pressure side. Thus, we considered that the internal cooling flows contributed more to temperature distributions on the surfaces of the blades rather than the external gas flows. The main stream in the internal cooling flow passages leaned toward one side of the walls and the temperatures on this side became lower than those obtained from the experimental results. Therefore, we suspect CHT analysis underestimated the mixing effect generated by the rib turbulators. It is important to solve the complex flow phenomena in internal cooling passages to better predict the accuracy of temperature distributions on the surfaces of blades.

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