Shrouds are important for damping vibrations in gas turbine blades. In modern industrial high-output, high-efficiency engines, long turbine blades can require the use of a mid-span or partial-span damping ring. However, the inclusion of a mid-span damping shroud, or “snubber,” can have negative effects on the aerodynamic performance of the gas turbine stage and engine. Therefore, a method of iterative study and optimization was applied to minimize the drag force caused by the snubber, while maximizing the structural life of the blade. The approach used integrated design environment software to perform parametric studies of the design space in preparation for optimization of the blade snubber geometry. The drivers employed in Isight 4.0/4.5 [9] optimization software carried out the parametric study and reported the results to the designer. Considering these results, the designer chose the initial seeding geometry of the optimization driver which greatly reduced analysis time and the time required to reach the design objectives. This approach provides an integrated design workflow and facilitates parametric studies of advanced gas turbine blade component geometry, and the optimization of the component to meet targets of minimized aerodynamic drag force and maximized low-cycle fatigue life, goals crucial to the development of an advanced and efficient power generation gas turbine.

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