Leading edge heat loads on turbine airfoils can be reduced by increasing the diameter of the leading edge. The lower external heat transfer and more generous curvature may allow for cooling this region internally. Large diameter leading edge regions are expected to exhibit a relatively broad region with nearly constant heat transfer. However, the ability of internal passages to cool a surface diminishes with distance as cooling air picks up thermal energy within the passage. Two novel internal cooling geometries which incrementally replenish cooling air, using impingement holes distributed along the array, have been designed and tested. These cooling methods have been compared to a baseline high solidity passage in terms of both array heat transfer and pressure drop. Heat transfer rates and pressure drop have been determined on a row by row basis to provide a means to assess their ability to sustain adequate cooling levels across the entire leading edge region. The authors believe turbine airfoil designs integrating large diameter leading edge regions with properly designed internal passages have the potential to eliminate showerhead cooling arrays in many industrial gas turbine applications. This change is especially beneficial in environments where fuel or air impurities have the potential to clog leading edge showerhead cooling arrays.

Heat transfer and pressure drop measurements were acquired in a bench scale test rig. Reynolds numbers ranged from approximately 5000 to 60,000 for the constant height channel arrays based on the pin diameter and the local maximum average velocity across a row. The high solidity pin fin arrays have an axial spacing (X/D) of 1.074 and a cross channel spacing (S/D) of 1.625. The constant section pin fin arrays have channel height to diameter ratios of 0.5. Each array has eight rows of pins with six pins per row in a staggered arrangement. Heat transfer testing was conducted using a constant temperature boundary condition.

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