This paper presents different numerical methods to predict the thermal load of a convection cooled gas turbine blade under realistic operating temperature conditions. The subject of the investigation is a gas turbine rotor blade which is equipped with a state-of-the-art convection cooling system.

Firstly, two FEM based methods are introduced. One method, referred to as FEM1D method, uses empirical correlations from the open literature to obtain one dimensional heat transfer coefficients along one flow line inside the cooling channels while in the hot gas path a three dimensional CFD simulation is used. The second method (FEM2D) uses three dimensional CFD simulations to obtain two dimensional heat transfer coefficient distributions for both, the inner cooling channels and the hot gas path. The results from both numerical methods are compared with each other and are validated with experimental data, quantifying also their accuracy limits.

In total this paper gives an evaluation of two different FEM methods to predict temperature distribution in convection cooled gas turbines. Their accuracy, numerical cost and limitations are evaluated. It turns out that the temperature profiles gained by both methods are generally in good agreement with the experiments. However, while causing higher numerical costs the more detailed FEM2D method achieves more accurate results.

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