Return Flow Cascade Cooling of Turbine Rotor Blades

Period of Performance: 05/03/2000 - 05/03/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aerodyne Research, Inc.
45 Manning Road Array
Billerica, MA 01821
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The return Flow Cascade (RFC) is a new technology which provides stable cooling of rotating turbine blades to much lower temperature than the combustion gas. Liquid coolant, searled within the blade structure, is driven by radial acceleration to a series of cascade shelves within the blade, providing uniform evaporative cooling. The vapor is condensed by heat exchange to cooling air or engine lubricating oil at the blade root, and the condensate recycled. Stable cooling at very high heat flux has been experimentally demonstrated, using a circular cylinder as the heat transfer structure. This program will develop RFC technology with realistic blade and condenser geometries, selected for rapid transition to gas trubine utilization. The Phase I program will develop a detailed blade and condenser hardware design, with measurements planned for the Phase II effort. The overall result will be demonstration of high temperature, high heat flux RFC operation, providing a baseline blade design and system definition for integration into an engine. MIT and Pratt & Whitney will provide technical support and review. This cooling technology enables engine operation at higher combustion temperature, with corresponding increase in engine specific power. Also, a wide range of relatively low cost, high strength blade materials become viable.