In order to have higher power to weight ratio and higher efficiency gas turbine engines, turbine inlet temperatures continue to rise. State-of-the-art turbine inlet temperatures now exceed the turbine rotor material capability. Accordingly, one of the best methods to protect turbine airfoil surfaces is to use film cooling on the airfoil external surfaces. In general, sizable amounts of expensive cooling flow delivered from the core compressor are used to cool the high temperature surfaces. That sizable cooling flow, on the order of 20% of the compressor core flow, adversely impacts the overall engine performance and hence the engine power density. With better understanding of the cooling flow and accurate prediction of the heat transfer distribution on airfoil surfaces, heat transfer designers can have a more efficient design to reduce the cooling flow needed for high temperature components and improve turbine efficiency. This in turn lowers the overall specific fuel consumption (SFC) for the engine. Accurate prediction of rotor metal temperature is also critical for calculations of cyclic thermal stress, oxidation, and component life.
The utilization of three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (3D CFD) codes for turbomachinery aerodynamic design and analysis is now a routine practice in the gas turbine industry. The accurate heat-transfer and metal-temperature prediction capability of any CFD code, however, remains challenging. This difficulty is primarily due to the complex flow environment of the high-pressure turbine, which features high speed rotating flow, coupling of internal and external unsteady flows, and film-cooled, heat transfer enhancement schemes. In this study, conjugate heat transfer (CHT) simulations are performed on a high-pressure cooled turbine stage, and the heat flux results at mid span are compared to experimental data obtained at The Ohio State University Gas Turbine Laboratory (OSUGTL). Due to the large difference in time scales between fluid and solid, the fluid domain is simulated as steady state while the solid domain is simulated as transient in CHT simulation. This paper compares the unsteady and transient results of the heat flux on a high-pressure cooled turbine rotor with measurements obtained at OSUGTL.