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Title: Study of volcanic ash impact onto turbine blades in jet engines
Author: Zhu, Zihang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 3366
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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Gas turbines are of great importance in industry. In the turbine section within a jet engine, thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are utilized to protect the metal turbine blades, thus improve the efficiency of engine. However, this coating is extremely vulnerable to attack by injected particulates. This ingested particulate is often referred to as "CMAS" (Calcia-Magnesia-Alumina-Silica). Among all the CMAS materials, Volcanic Ash (VA) is the most common type which aeroengines may encounter during the flight. This type of CMAS material would melt in the combustion section by ultra high temperature and then impact the turbine blades with relatively high speed. Some of the particles would then stick on and bond with the TBC, thus cause degradation of the protecting coating. In this way, the jet engine would be permanently damaged. In the recent years, experiments have been done by different researchers to elaborate the effect of CMAS materials on TBCs. However, there is still a lack of knowledge in the bonding mechanism and physical adhesion between the CMAS particles (especially VA particles) and the substrate. A study of VA particle impingement is required in order to understand particle impingement, phase transition and heat transfer, bonding mechanism and splat morphology in detail. In this research, experiments were carried at Cambridge University, by Prof. Trevor William Clyne, Dr. James Dean and Dr. Catalina Taltavull to reproduce the VA-substrate impingement in jet engine. A Vacuum Plasma Spray (VPS) system was utilized to create a high-temperature, high-velocity flow field. Different types of Volcanic Ashes (VAs) were introduced into the experimental set-up. Sticking rate, Scanning Electron microscope (SEM) micrographs of deposition morphology were examined and collected. Chapter 3 elaborates the details of this experiment set-up and data collected from the experiment. This experiment set-up is utilized by the author for building numerical models and the result of this experiment is used to validate the numerical models. Three numerical models were built to perform a systematic study. Firstly, in Chapter 4, a Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) model was created to simulate the steady-state of the VPS flow field. The Discrete Particle Method (DPM) model was then utilized to simulate the injection of volcanic ash particles. After calculating the BI number, non-isothermal effects within the ceramic particles were simulated by introducing the heat transfer function by a user-defined function (UDF). This model gives the temperature gradient within and velocity of the in-flight VA particles at any time during the spray. It is shown that small particles (diameter < $10\ \mu m$) would easily be melted and reach the iso-thermal state. However, these particles would be largely influenced by the flow field thus bypass the turbine blades. The large particles (diameter > $50\ \mu m$) would easily impact the turbine blades, but would remain unmelted due to the large grain size. It is concluded that VA particles with diameter of $15\ \mu m$ to $40\ \mu m$ are the most "dangerous" particles, because these particles have both relatively high possibility to be melted, and high possibility to impact thus adhere on the substrate. Second of all in Chapter 5, systematic study of Yttria-stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) particle impingement and deposition on stainless steel in thermal spray process has been performed. A Coupled Eulerian and Lagrangian model was developed. This model contributes to simulate the process of semi-molten particle impact. By utilizing this model, both the large deformation of liquid part and the plastic deformation of the solid part could be extracted. One fully molten and two semi-molten(solid core with liquid shell and solid shell with liquid core) cases were studied. The results of the numerical model matches well with the experiment and analytical data. Interest parameters such as velocity, temperature, fraction of liquid part were varied. The contact area, splat morphology and local contact temperature were collected and studied. It is shown that, the larger the liquid fraction is, the larger the contact area would be. Moreover, effect of roughness of substrate is also studied. It is suggested that substrate roughness whose average asperity size is higher than the 1/10 of particle size is beneficial for adhesion. Third of all in Chapter 6, in order to simulate the impact for high-viscosity glass-state ceramic particles, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamic (SPH) model was built. For high/ultra viscosity cases, traditional CFD method and Finite Element Method (FEM) would be extremely slow. SPH model transfers the Eulerian equations into Lagrangian equations. By utilizing this method, computational resources could be saved, and high viscosity impact could be simulated. The SPH algorithm was coded and equations for heat transfer was introduced to simulate the solidification of liquid. Systematic study were performed by utilizing this model. Viscosity, contact angle, velocity of particles were varied. Contact area, splat morphology and solidification at the contact area were examined. It is shown that, large contact angle would result in large contact area. However, particles impingement with low viscosity and high contact angle could result in the break up of the particles. The similar phenomena could be seen in experiment - small particles have lower viscosity and are approaching the substrate with a large contact angle. Therefore, the deposition of these types of particles show an obvious evidence of break up and oblique impact.
Supervisor: Gu, Sai Sponsor: University of Surrey ; EPSRC ; Rolls-Royce plc ; Cranfield University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral