This paper describes the aero-thermal development and validation of the GT36 heavy duty gas turbine. The turbine which has evolved from the existing and proven GT26 design, consists of an optimised annulus flow path, higher lift aerofoil profiles, optimised aerodynamic matching between the turbine stages and new and improved cooling systems of the turbine vanes and blades. A major design feature of the turbine has been to control and reduce the aerodynamic losses, associated with the aerofoil profiles, trailing edges, blade tips, endwalls and coolant ejection. The advantages of these design changes to the overall gas turbine efficiency have been verified via extensive experimental testing in high-speed cascade test rigs and via the utilisation of high fidelity multi-row computational fluid dynamics design systems.

The thermal design and cooling systems of the turbine vanes, blades have also been improved and optimised. For the first stage vane and blade aerofoils and platforms, multi-row film cooling with new and optimised diffuser cooling holes have been implemented and validated in high speed linear cascades. Additionally, the internal cooling design features of all the blades and vanes were also improved and optimised, which allowed for more homogenous metal temperatures distributions on the aerofoils. The verification and validation of the internal thermal designs of all the turbine components has been confirmed via extensive testing in dedicated Perspex models, where measurements were conducted for local pressure losses, overall flow distributions and local heat transfer coefficients.

The turbine is currently being tested and undergoing validation in the GT36 Test Power Plant in Birr, Switzerland. The gas turbine is heavily instrumented with a wide range of validation instrumentation including thermocouples, pressure sensors, strain gauges and five-hole probes. In addition to performance mapping and operational validation, a dedicated thermal paint validation test will also be performed.

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