The demand for higher efficiency is ever-present in the gas turbine field and can be achieved through many different approaches. While additively manufactured parts have only recently been introduced into the hot section of a gas turbine engine, the manufacturing technology shows promise for more widespread implementation since the process allows a designer to push the limits on capabilities of traditional machining and potentially impact turbine efficiencies.
Pin fins are conventionally used in turbine airfoils to remove heat from locations in which high thermal and mechanical stresses are present. This study employs the benefits of additive manufacturing to make uniquely shaped pin fins, with the goal of increased performance over conventional cylindrical pin fin arrays. Triangular, star, and spherical shaped pin fins placed in microchannel test coupons were manufactured using Direct Metal Laser Sintering. These coupons were experimentally investigated for pressure loss and heat transfer at a range of Reynolds numbers. Spacing, number of pin fins in the array, and pin fin geometry were variables that changed pressure loss and heat transfer in this study. Results indicate that the additively manufactured triangles and cylinders outperform conventional pin fin arrays, while stars and dimpled spheres did not.