The new possibilities offered by Additive Manufacturing (AM) can be exploited in gas turbines to produce a new generation of complex and efficient internal coolant systems. The flexibility offered by this new manufacturing method needs a paradigm shift in the design approach and a possible solution is offered by Topology Optimization.

The overall goal of this work is to propose an innovative method to design internal channels in gas turbines that that fully exploit AM capabilities. The present work contains a new application of a Fluid Topology sedimentation method to optimize the internal coolant geometries with minimal pressure losses while maximizing the heat exchange. The domain is considered as a porous medium with variable porosity: the solution is represented by the final solid distribution that constitutes the optimised structure. In this work the governing equations for an incompressible flow in a porous medium are considered together with a conjugate heat transfer equation that includes porosity dependent thermal diffusivity. An adjoint optimisation approach with steepest descent method is used to build the optimisation algorithm.

The simulations are carried out on two different geometries: a U-Bend and a straight duct. For the U-Bend a series of splitter is automatically generated by the code, minimizing the stagnation pressure losses. In the straight duct the impact of different porosity dependant thermal diffusivity is analysed to achieve high thermal exchange. The results show “rib like” structures that enhance the heat transfer.

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