Sustainability, energy, film cooling, TSP, gas turbine, shaped hole, asymmetric


Film cooling is a technique whereby air from the compressor stage of a gas turbine engine is diverted for cooling purposes to parts, such as the turbine stage, that operate at very high temperatures. Cooling arrangements include impingement jets, finned, ribbed and turbulated channels, and rows of film cooling holes, all of which over the years have become progressively more complex. This costly, but necessary complexity is a result of the industry's push to run engines at increasingly higher turbine inlet temperatures. Higher temperatures mean higher efficiency, but they also mean that the turbine first stage operates hundreds of degrees Kelvin above the melting point of the metal core of the vanes and blades. Existing cooling technology and materials make it possible to protect these parts and allow them to function for extended periods of time--but this comes at a price: the compressed air that is used for cooling represents a considerable penalty in overall turbine efficiency. The aim of current cooling research is threefold: to improve the protection of components from extreme fluxes in order to extend the life of the parts; to increase the inlet turbine operating temperature; and to reduce the amount of air that is diverted from the compressor for cooling. Current film cooling schemes consist of forcing air through carefully machined holes on a part and ejecting it at an angle with the intent of cooling that part by blanketing the surface downstream of the point of ejection. The last major development in the field has been the use of expanded hole exits, which reduce coolant momentum and allow for greater surface coverage. Researchers and designers are continuously looking for novel geometries and arrangements that would increase the level of protection or maintain it while using less coolant. It was found that the performance of fan-shaped holes inside trenches is actually diminished by the presence of the trench. It is obvious, since the fan diffuses the flow, reducing the momentum of the coolant; the addition of the trench further slows the flow down. This, in turn, leads to the quicker ingestion of the main flow by the jets resulting in lower effectiveness. The next part of the study consisted of systematically increasing the depth of the trench for the fan-shaped holes. The purpose of this was to quantify the effect of the trench on the film cooling effectiveness. It was found that the presence of the trench significantly reduces the film effectiveness, especially for the deeper cases. At the higher blowing ratios, the overall performance of the fans collapses to the same value signifying insensitivity to the blowing ratio. A recent study suggests that having a compound angle could reduce the protective effect of the film due to the elevated interaction between the non-co-flowing coolant jet and the mainstream. Although it has been suggested that a non-symmetric lateral diffusion could mitigate the ill effects of having a compound angle, little has been understood on the effect this non-symmetry has on film cooling effectiveness. The last part of this study investigates the effect of non-symmetric lateral diffusion on film cooling effectiveness by systematically varying one side of a fan-shaped hole. For this part of the study, one of the lateral angles of diffusion of a fan-shaped hole was changed from 5° to 13°, while the other side was kept at 7°. It was found that a lower angle of diffusion hurts performance, while a larger diffusion angle improves it. However, the more significant result was that the jet seemed to be slightly turning. This dissertation investigates such novel methods which one day may include combinations of cylindrical and fan-shaped holes embedded inside trenches, conical holes, or even rows of asymmetric fan-shaped holes. The review of current literature reveals that very few investigations have been done on film cooling effectiveness for uniformly diffusing conical holes. They have been treated as a sort of side novelty since industrial partners often say they are hard to manufacture. To extend our understanding of effectiveness of conical holes, the present study investigates the effect of increasing diffusion angle, as well as the effect of adding a cylindrical entrance length to a conical hole. The measurements were made in the form of film cooling effectiveness and the technique used was temperature sensitive paint. Eight different conical geometries were tested in the form of coupons with rows of holes. The geometry of the holes changed from pure cylindrical holes, a 0° cylindrical baseline, to an 8° pure cone. The coupons were tested in a closed loop wind tunnel at blowing ratios varying from 0.5 to 1.5, and the coolant employed was nitrogen gas. Results indicate that the larger conical holes do, in fact offer appropriate protection and that the holes with the higher expansion angles perform similar to fan-shaped baseline holes, even at the higher blower ratios. The study was also extended to two other plates in which the conical hole was preceded by a cylindrical entry length. The performance of the conical holes improves as a result of the entry length and this is seen at the higher blowing ratios in the form of a delay in the onset of jet detachment. The results of this study show that conical expanding holes are a viable geometry and that their manufacturing can be made easier with a cylindrical entry length, at the same time improving the performance of these holes. This suggests that the jets actually have two regions: one region with reduced momentum, ideal for protecting a large area downstream of the point of injection; and another region with more integrity which could withstand more aggressive main flow conditions. A further study should be conducted for this geometry at compound angles with the main flow to test this theory. The studies conducted show that the temperature sensitive paint technique can be used to study the performance of film cooling holes for various geometries. The studies also show the film cooling performance of novel geometries and explain why, in some cases, such new arrangements are desirable, and in others, how they can hurt performance. The studies also point in the direction of further investigations in order to advance cooling technology to more effective applications and reduced coolant consumption, the main goal of applied turbine cooling research. Trench cooling consists of having film cooling holes embedded inside a gap, commonly called a trench. The walls of this gap are commonly vertical with respect to the direction of the main flow and are directly in the path of the coolant. The coolant hits the downstream trench wall which forces it to spread laterally, resulting in more even film coverage downstream than that of regular holes flush with the surface. Recent literature has focused on the effect that trenching has on cylindrical cooling holes only. While the results indicate that trenches are an exciting, promising new geometry derived from the refurbishing process of thermal barrier ceramic coatings, not all the parameters affecting film cooling have been investigated relating to trenched holes. For example, nothing has been said about how far apart holes inside the trench will need to be placed for them to stop interacting. Nothing has been said about shaped holes inside a trench, either. This dissertation explores the extent to which trenching is useful by expanding the PI/D from 4 to 12 for rows of round and fan holes. In addition the effect that trenching has on fan-shaped holes is studied by systematically increasing the trench depth. Values of local, laterally-averaged and spatially-averaged film cooling effectiveness are reported. It is found that placing the cylinders inside the trench and doubling the distance between the holes provides better performance than the cylindrical, non-trenched baseline, especially at the higher blowing ratios, M > 1.0. At these higher coolant flow rates, the regular cylindrical jets show detachment, while those in the trench do not. They, in fact perform very well. The importance of this finding implies that the number of holes, and coolant, can be cut in half while still improving performance over regular holes. The trenched cylindrical holes did not, however, perform like the fan shaped holes.


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Graduation Date



Kapat, Jayanta S.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering








Release Date

July 2014

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)