Since the 1950’s, the turbine inlet temperatures of gas turbine engines have been steadily increasing as engine designers have sought to increase engine thrust-to-weight and reduce fuel consumption. In turbojets and low-bypass turbofan engines, increasing the turbine inlet temperature boosts specific thrust, which in some cases can support supersonic flight without the use of an afterburner. In high-bypass gas turbine engines, increasing the turbine inlet temperature makes possible higher bypass ratios and overall pressure ratios, both of which reduce specific fuel consumption. Increased turbine inlet temperatures, without sacrificing blade life, have been made possible through advances in blade cooling effectiveness and high-temperature turbine blade materials. Investigating the impact of higher turbine inlet temperatures and the corresponding cooling air flow rates on specific thrust, specific fuel consumption, and engine development cost is the subject of this paper. A physics-based cooling effectiveness correlation is presented for linking turbine inlet temperature to cooling flow fraction. Two cases are considered: 1) a low-bypass, mixed-exhaust, non-afterburning turbofan engine intended to support supercruising at Mach 1.5 and 2) a high-bypass, unmixed-exhaust turbofan engine intended to support highly efficient, long range flight at Mach 0.8. For each of these two cases, both baseline and enhanced cooling effectiveness values as well as both baseline and elevated turbine blade material temperatures are considered. Comparing these cases will ensure that students taking courses in preliminary engine design understand why huge research investments continue to be made in turbine blade cooling and advanced, high-temperature turbine blade material development.

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