The last 50 years has witnessed significant improvement in film cooling technologies while transpiration cooling is still not implemented in turbine airfoil cooling. Although transpiration cooling could provide higher cooling efficiency with less coolant consumption compared to film cooling, the fine pore structure and high porosity in transpiration cooling metal media always raised difficulties in conventional manufacturing. Recently, the rapid development of additive manufacturing has provided a new perspective to address such challenge. With the capability of the innovative powder bed selective laser metal sintering (SLMS) additive manufacturing technology, the complex geometries of transpiration cooling part could be precisely fabricated and endued with improved mechanical strength.
Present study utilized the SLMS additive manufacturing technology to fabricate the transpiration cooling and film cooling structures with Inconel 718 supperalloy. Five different types of porous media including two perforated plates with different hole pitches, metal sphere packing, metal wire mesh and blood vessel shaped passages for transpiration cooling were fabricated by EOS M290 System. One laidback fan-shaped film cooling coupon was also fabricated with the same printing process as the control group. Heat transfer tests under 3 different coolant mass flow rates and 4 different mainstream temperatures were conducted to evaluate the cooling performance of the printed coupons. The effects of geometry parameters including porosity, surface outlet area ratio and internal solid-fluid interface area ratio were investigated as well. The results showed that the transpiration cooling structures generally had higher cooling effectiveness than film cooling structure. The overall average cooling effectiveness of blood vessel shaped transpiration cooling reached 0.35, 0.5 and 0.57 respectively with low (1.2%), medium (2.4%) and high (3.6%) coolant injection ratios. The morphological parameters analysis showed the major factor that affected the cooling effectiveness most was the internal solid-fluid interface area ratio for transpiration cooling. This study showed that additive manufactured transpiration cooling could be a promising alternative method for turbine blade cooling and worthwhile for further investigations.