Better life assessment of hot-components of an aero-engine can help improve its reliability and service life, while, reducing associated maintenance cost. Accurate prediction of Thermo-Mechanical Fatigue (TMF) is one of the crucial aspects of life prediction. Therefore, fully resolved simulation methodologies have gained attention as an ingredient for solving TMF problems owing to their potential for providing comprehensive insights into a system having hot components undergoing transient loading during operation.
The present work focuses on a multi-physics simulation-based approach for the life-prediction of a representative gas-turbine combustor liner with an objective of providing a complete framework for TMF analysis of an actual aero-engine combustor liner. The presented methodology consists of a coupling between Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Finite Element Method (FEM). Thermal loads on the representative aero-engine combustor are predicted using Conjugate Heat Transfer (CHT) modeling in the CFD analyses for different operating conditions suitable for a flight cycle. A load cycle is then constructed using these thermal loads and is transferred to the structural analysis to evaluate the stresses in the liner. Results are obtained regarding spatially varying thermal expansion resulting in inelastic strains as governed by temperature and rate dependent material behavior. Stress and plastic strain history information from the structural analysis are processed to predict the life of different regions of the combustor liner. Different simulation methods for conjugate heat-transfer, load-cycle, material property extraction, thermal-stresses, and fatigue are evaluated, and an overall methodology involving accuracy and reasonable computational cost is proposed. The proposed methodology is numerically verified, and the verification results are presented in this work.