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Center Innovation Fund: GRC CIF

Thermal History Mapping Technology for Turbine Engine Diagnostics

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Project Introduction

Thermal History Mapping Technology for Turbine Engine Diagnostics
The NASA Aeronautic research strategy is to develop and demonstrate revolutionary technologies that enable global air transportation that is safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly for the next 30 years and beyond. Increased fuel efficiency is a game changer in gas turbines as fuel is the single most important cost, accounting for up to about 40% of the overall operation cost of commercial aircrafts. Increased fuel efficiency is obtained through increasing the thermal efficiency of the engine by increasing the overall pressure ratio (OPR). Increased OPR requires increased turbine inlet temperature, which is paced by advances in turbine hot section materials temperature capability. High turbine inlet temperature also contributes to environmentally friendly engines by reducing NOx. There are, therefore, ever increasing demands for higher temperature materials and more efficient cooling technologies. The development of high temperature materials and cooling technologies require rigorous rig and engine validation. When gas turbine designers and engineers run the initial tests on new gas turbines, they need to know the temperatures at which the hot section components had operated. Accurate temperature measurements tell the specialists if the engine is functioning within its design limits and whether it might run at a higher temperature and thus efficiency level. CFD analysts need to know accurate thermal map of components to validate CFD analysis. NASA GRC has a critical need for high resolution thermal mapping technology for lifing and CFD analysis of 2700oF EBC-coated cooled CMC components. The fidelity of CFD analysis and lifing depends on the accuracy of the thermal mapping of coated CMC airfoils in combustion rig testing. The project vision is a game-changing thermal sensing technology to enable non-line-of-sight thermal mapping in extreme environments. The goal is to develop a diagnostic tool for non-line-of-sight, non-destructive full-field thermal history mapping of environmental barrier coatings (EBC) for temperatures up to 3000 F (1650 C). More »

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