Roughness below a certain, admissible level will not increase an aerofoil’s skin friction and thus will not impact on engine performance. In this paper a simple model is developed that demonstrates how this admissible roughness height changes through the engine. The model is determined by combining existing analytical models and is backed up by computational validation where necessary.
It is shown that, given a fixed inlet/exit stagnation temperature and pressure to a blade row, the admissible roughness height is only a weak function of chord Reynolds number and Mach number for typical gas turbine blades. The aerofoil geometry/duty is also shown to have little impact. This allows the model to give a general picture of where roughness matters, irrespective of the exact details of the flow conditions/blade geometries.
The model shows that the admissible roughness height decreases as the stagnation pressure increases. The lowest admissible roughness level occurs at the high pressure end of the compressor at sea-level; the admissible roughness increases as the stagnation pressure drops towards the front of the compressor. Turbines are also most sensitive to roughness close to the combustor, but even there the admissible roughness will be around three times greater than at the rear of the compressor.