This paper presents the effects of major geometrical modifications to the interior of a convection cooled gas turbine rotor blade. The analysis of the flow is performed experimentally with flow visualization via paint injection into water, whereas the flow and the heat transfer are investigated numerically with ANSYS CFX, utilizing the SST turbulence model. Two sets of calculations are carried out: one under the same conditions as the experiments and another according to realistic hot gas conditions with conjugate heat transfer. The aim is to identify flow phenomena altering the heat transfer in the blade and to manipulate them in order to reduce the thermal load of the material. The operating point of the geometric base configuration is set to Re=50,000 at the inlet while for the modified geometries, the pressure ratio is held constant compared with the base. Flow structures and heat transfer conditions are evaluated and are linked to specific geometric features. Among several investigated configurations one could be identified that leads to a cooling effectiveness 15% larger compared with the base.

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