Optimizing Cooling Passages in Turbine Blades

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Turbine blades have internal passages that provide cooling during operation in a high
temperature engine. The design of the cooling passages is critical to achieve near uniform
temperature of the blade during operation. The temperature of the blade is dependent on the thermal properties of the blade material as well as the fluid dynamics of the air circulating in the cooling passages. Computational optimization methods have successfully been applied to design lighter and more efficient structures for many aerospace structures. An extension of these techniques is now applied to guiding the thermal design of a turbine blade by designing the optimal cooling passage layout. Optimization methods will be applied to determine the optimum pattern of the cooling passages and then to optimize the size of the individual cooling passages. The goal is to produce a more thermally efficient turbine blade design that will produce blades with longer lives and better performance.

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