To optimize the efficiency of modern aero-gas turbine engines the turbine tip clearances must be tightly controlled so as to minimize leakage losses. In addition, the clearance control system must be able to respond with sufficient rapidity to engine thermal transients. One method of achieving turbine tip-clearance control is to manipulate the turbine casing temperature, and thereby radial growth, by convective cooling. The consequent clearance control system represents a particularly complex thermo-mechanical design problem. The current experimental study aims to simulate the heat loads to which the internal surfaces of the casing are typically exposed and to characterize the radial and axial displacement of the free-body casing under varying external cooling conditions. Importantly, the newly commissioned test facility allows a realistic assessment of the casing cooling impact on dimensional control, and also the rapid characterization and comparison of different concepts. The test facility comprises a model of a high-pressure/intermediate-pressure turbine casing with generic impingement cooling manifolds. A radiant heater is mounted within the casing model such that a near-uniform heat flux condition can be established on the casing wall inner surface. Extensive surface mounted thermocouples are welded to the casing wall to monitor variations in metal temperature. Radial and axial displacement of the casing is monitored using laser triangulation and linear variable differential transformer sensors. Experiments have been conducted over a range of heat load conditions and with engine representative levels of casing cooling applied. Importantly, the new test facility allows for the characterization of the casing cooling system as a whole.

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