As part of a thorough benchmarking of the baseline cooling design in planned optimization work, Reynolds-Averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) conjugate heat transfer (CHT) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) assessments have been accomplished at RTV design flow conditions to simulate both a cooled flat plate pressure side (PS) model infrared thermography experiment as well as a full-scale, fully-cooled, full-wheel blowdown experiment on the same high pressure turbine (HPT) vane. Numerous past works on turbomachinery film cooling have been conducted using flat plate models because of their simplicity, repeatability, and low cost of experimentation relative to full scale rotating blowdown rigs. Some of these works generated film cooling correlations still in use today in industry for HPT components. The CFD assessments in this work provide insight into the fundamental differences between a flat plate model and a realistic 3-D vane in terms of film cooling performance for the same PS cooling array. The comparisons of results wring out expected differences between the geometries due to aspects such as highly curved surfaces and endwall effects. However, with nearly-matched coolant-to-mainstream temperature and pressure ratios, the cooling performance between the two models is surprisingly similar, especially in the midspan region. The similarities and differences observed herein represent the rigor and accuracy afforded by simulating both the solid and fluid domains as well as the high-density unstructured meshes that take into account all individual cooling passages and internal plenums, on top of the typically-assessed external fluid flow field.

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