Preventing Stress to Aircraft Engine Turbine-Blades

The integrity of the turbine blades in an aircraft engine is crucial for safe operation. The turbine blades are exposed to a multitude of stresses during the engine’s operation cycle, including rapid heating, sustained high temperature, and cooling. Therefore, it is crucial that this cycle does not affect the structural integrity of any turbine blade, as the failure of a single blade can impact the other blades and cause a total engine failure.

A heat-controlled chamber is the common method of testing turbine blade designs. This process enables technicians to test various geometries and materials, to achieve the optimal performance. Heat-controlled testing also provides the required data for failure analysis and life expectancy of the prototype design.

Technicians can position the blade under a thermal load, known as the ramp/soak period, to simulate how it operates in an engine. This process commonly involves heating the test chamber at a specific preset rate to analyze the various heat profiles. A constant temperature is then maintained for a given period, followed by cooling. The blade may then be inspected for stress cracks – a major factor that could cause the blade to fail.

The main challenge of testing turbine blades is that they must undergo repetitive thermal cycling processes. Otherwise, the experimental data requirement used in thorough simulations of the damage factors under stress conditions will not be satisfied.

The test chambers utilized in the aerospace industry are normally customized to fit the specific size and configuration of the turbine blade undergoing testing. This means that portability is an essential feature of test equipment. There is also a great for aerospace engineers and technicians to remotely monitor the controller units to adapt to the changing test conditions.

The PLATINUM™ Series Universal Digital Benchtop Controller from OMEGA Engineering is a perfect solution for quality lab environments. It combines enhanced ramp/soak programmability, complete portability, and remote monitoring through the Internet. The enhanced ramp/soak capability comprises of up to 99 programs with 16 bidirectional ramps, including ramp/soak events and remote start. This controller also enables an aerospace technician to combine individual ramp/soak profiles together to create a continuous cycling profile.

The controller's programmable dual three-color displays showcase both setpoint and real-time temperatures, which can be easily read from any position in the test lab. The rear panel of the Universal Digital Benchtop Controller possesses additional, and directly accessible, connections. These include an internal 5A solid-state relay control output; power, fuse, and input connections; and an optional Ethernet port.

The OMEGA temperature controller is a highly portable device, that possess an enhanced flexibility for saving time and money. Technicians can readily mobilize the unit to a different position in the test lab, or to another test chamber. It also comes with OMEGA Software, which is embedded firmware, that can serve web pages over the Internet or an Ethernet LAN.

The OMEGA Software enables technicians to monitor, control and modify a test via a web browser, including changing setpoints or alarm points and turning the heater on and off during testing.

PLATINUM™ Series controllers allow data collection, reporting, and analysis to be just as easy to accomplish out of the office as it is in the quality lab. The controller also enables the simple configuration of the optimal test parameters, ensuring the turbine blade is exposed to the correct amount of thermal cycling.

OMEGA’s thermocouple probes accurately measure the test chamber’s temperature to ensure the integrity of the testing is maintained. Other OMEGA solutions can then record temperature versus time data, using the Touch Screen Data Logger, USB Data Acquisition Module, and OMEGA’s Wireless Bluetooth® Transmitters.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OMEGA Engineering Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit OMEGA Engineering Ltd.

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