Turbine inlet temperatures (TIT) of 1500–2000 K have become a sort of standard for most modern advanced applications. First-stage blades are obviously the most exposed components to such hot gases, and thus they need proper cooling. In the preliminary design of the blades and their cooling system, designers must rely on simple models that can be further refined at a later stage, in order to have an approximate but valuable set of guidelines and to reach a feasible first-order configuration. In this paper, a simple lumped thermodynamic model of blade cooling is proposed. It is based on mass/energy balances and heat transfer correlations, and it predicts a one-dimensional temperature profile on the blade external surface along the chord for a given gas temperature profile, as well as the required cooling air flow rates to prevent blade material from creep. The greatest advantage of the model is that it can be easily adapted to any operating condition, process parameter, and blade geometry, which makes it well suited to the last technological trends, namely, the investigation of new cooling methods and alternative coolants instead of air. Therefore, the proposed model is expected to be a useful tool in the field of innovative gas turbine cycle analysis, replacing more computationally intensive and very time-consuming models.

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