Design and Testing of a Rig to Investigate Buoyancy-Induced Heat Transfer in Aero-Engine Compressor Rotors

Dario Luberti, Marios Patinios, Richard Jackson, Hui Tang, Oliver Pountney, James Scobie, Carl Sangan, Mike Owen, Gary Lock

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The change in compressor blade-tip clearance across the flight cycle depends on the expansion of the rotor, which in turn depends on the temperature and stress in the discs. The radial distribution of temperature is directly coupled to the buoyancy-driven flow and heat transfer in the rotating disc cavities. This paper describes a new test rig specifically designed to investigate this conjugate phenomenon. The rig test section includes four rotating discs enclosing three cavities. Two discs in the central cavity are instrumented with thermocouples to provide the radial distribution of temperature; the two outer cavities are thermally insulated to create appropriate boundary conditions for the heat transfer analysis. An axial throughflow of air is supplied between a stationary shaft and the bore of the discs. The temperature of the throughflow air is measured by thermocouples in rakes upstream and downstream of the central cavity. For a cold throughflow, the outer shroud of the central cavity is heated. Two independently-controlled radiant heaters allow differential shroud temperatures for the upstream and downstream discs, as found in aero-engine compressors. Alternatively, the throughflow can be heated above the shroud temperature to simulate the transient conditions during engine operation where stratified flow can occur inside the cavity. The rig is designed to operate in conditions where both convective and radiative heat transfer dominate; all internal surfaces of the cavity are painted matt black to allow the accurate calculation of the radiant heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power: Transactions of the ASME
Issue number041030
Early online date30 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


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