A Parametric Physics Based Creep Life Prediction Approach to Gas Turbine Blade Conceptual Design
Smith, Marcus Edward Brockbank
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The required useful service lives of gas turbine components and parts are naturally one of the major design constraints limiting the gas turbine design space. For example, the required service life of a turbine blade limits the firing temperature in the combustor, which in turn limits the performance of the gas turbine. For a cooled turbine blade, it also determines the necessary cooling flow, which has a strong impact on the turbine efficiency. In most gas turbine design practices, the life prediction is only emphasized during or after the detailed design has been completed. Limited life prediction efforts have been made in the early design stages, but these efforts capture only a few of the necessary key factors, such as centrifugal stress. Furthermore, the early stage prediction methods are usually hard coded in the gas turbine system design tools and hidden from the system designer s view. The common failure mechanisms affecting the service life, such as creep, fatigue and oxidation, are highly sensitive to the material temperatures and/or stresses. Calculation of these temperatures and stresses requires that the geometry, material properties, and operating conditions be known; information not typically available in early stages of design. Even without awareness of the errors, the resulting inaccuracy in the life prediction may mislead the system designers when examining a design space which is bounded indirectly by the inaccurate required life constraints. Furthermore, because intensive creep lifing analysis is possible only towards the end of the design process, any errors or changes will cost the engine manufacturer significant money; money that could be saved if more comprehensive creep lifing predictions were possible in the early stages of design. A rapid, physics-based life prediction method could address this problem by enabling the system designer to investigate the design space more thoroughly and accurately. Although not meant as a final decision method, the realistic trends will help to reduce risk, by providing greater insight into the bounded space at an earlier stage of the design. The method proposed by this thesis was developed by first identifying the missing pieces in the system design tools. Then, by bringing some key features from later stages of design and analysis forward through 0/1/2Ds dimensional modeling and simulation, the method allows estimation of the geometry, material selection, and the loading stemming from the operating conditions. Finally, after integration with a system design platform, the method provides a rapid and more complete way to allow system designers to better investigate the required life constraints. It also extracts the creep life as a system level metric to allow the designers to see the impact of their design decisions on life. The method is to be first applied to a cooled gas turbine blade and could be further development for other critical parts. These new developments are integrated to allow the system designers to better capture the blade creep life as well as its impact on the overall design.