Non-Destructive Evaluation / Inspection (NDE/NDI) for Aero Turbine Hot Section Castings and Coatings

Period of Performance: 08/01/2006 - 05/31/2007


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Sponsored Programs 0170
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Institution POC


Luna Innovations Incorporated will conduct a feasibility study of a non-linear, ultrasonic, non-destructive method of evaluating heat transfer and structural characterization of gas turbine engine hot section parts. The proposed concept is a novel ultrasonic measurement which will be used to determine change in heat flux for determining heat transfer. An ultrasonic transducer will be used for the materials characterization as well as the NDI for flaws and structural characteristics. The measurement system will be able to scan a turbine airfoil or hot section component and provide digital indications of heat transfer and internal defects in the parts. The system would be able to scan each part completely for defects as well as blockages in cooling lines while also determining heat transfer characteristics. Current methods are labor intensive, complex, expensive, and provide limited resolution. Luna's concept provides detailed flaw detection and performance evaluation with limited user interaction.BENEFITS: Blockages of cooling lines in turbine airfoils and hot section components can cause severe damage to aircraft components and can lead to failures. The turbines often operate in extreme environmental conditions which can bring the air around parts to temperatures above their melting points so it becomes extremely important to ensure that all of the intricate cooling lines are unblocked and defect free, to ensure proper heat transfer. The proposed method could be applied to commercial aircraft as well as other engine parts that are exposed to extreme thermal and pressurized environments. The technique has the potential to be extended to the field for tests in place.