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DEVELOPMENT OF A LASER LIFETIME PRESSURE-SENSITIVE PAINT METHOD FOR TURBINE ANALYSIS
To increase overall aircraft engine efficiency, the diameter of the high-pressure turbine is reduced, leading to low aspect ratio airfoils. Secondary flow dominates in these low aspect ratio turbines, and the small airfoil geometry inhibits flush-mounted, full-spatial dynamic pressure measurements with pressure transducers. Airfoil surface pressure measurements are vital to understanding the inherently unsteady flow phenomena in turbines. Additionally, aerodynamic performance data derived from high-resolution surface pressure measurements provide invaluable data for validating computational fluid dynamics codes used for prediction. Non-intrusive measurement techniques such as fast-responding Pressure Sensitive Paint (PSP) offer a potential solution of a full-field optical measurement of surface pressure fluctuation, with each camera pixel representing a sensor. The porous binder improves the dynamic response of PSP, making it suitable for unsteady flow environments such as turbomachinery applications. In this view, the overall objective of the current doctoral research is to develop a lifetime PSP method using laser-based excitation for surface pressure measurement on a new class of high-pressure turbines.
The overall research goal was subdivided into three main strategies. (1) A pulse lifetime calibration procedure of a porous polymer/ceramic binder PSP was developed in a pressure-controlled chamber to assess the correlation between pressure and time-resolved luminescent lifetime, pressure sensitivity, and signal-to-noise ratio. (2) The lifetime technique was implemented for surface pressure measurements in a linear test section to measure high spatial pressure gradients and resolve unsteady flow features. A data reduction routine and an optimal binning bundle of pixels were proposed for calibration analysis to reduce the overall pressure uncertainty. Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis were also completed to determine the parameters with a substantial effect on the pressure uncertainty. (3) The pulse lifetime method was demonstrated on a high-pressure turbine vane suction surface at engine representative conditions. The surface pressure data were corroborated with static pressure tappings and computational simulations. This research effort provided new insights into time-resolved luminescent lifetime PSP techniques. Steady and unsteady flow features from surface pressure measurements were identified using a precise calibration method. The lifetime pulse method was effective in a high-pressure turbine flow field, paving the way for back-to-back PSP experiments with different turbine geometries.