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Computational design and development of rotating heat pipes for gas turbine cooling


About This PhD Project

Project Description

Gas turbines are critical elements for power generation and transportation systems. They transform the chemical energy contained in the fuel by combustion, into mechanical energy. Still, the combustion temperature is limited mainly by the turbine blade material. For this reason, blade cooling methods have been extensively researched to allow higher combustion temperatures and thus higher turbine output.
A heat pipe is a devise comprised of a sealed pipe and a working fluid. The fluid mass is such that the pipe can contain simultaneously vapour and liquid phases over the expected range of operating temperatures. Fluid is transported from the condenser to the evaporator by capillarity in a porous material. For this reason, they operate in isothermal conditions, and have been proven to be effective in spacecraft cooling due to their low weight and reliability.

Latent heat transport can be used for cooling blades. A heat transfer cycle can be implemented with a heat pipe in a radially rotating arrangement, based primarily on the centrifugal force. In this arrangement, both the centrifugal and Coriolis force determine the phase distribution in the pipe. Transfer devices such as this one can work effectively in a high temperature rotating environment with thermal conductance 60-100 times higher than that of copper if engineered properly.

Proposed start date: 1st October 2019. Students with a First class/2.1 degree in Engineering, Physics, or Mathematics subjects are encouraged to apply. A prior knowledge on gas turbine engineering and an MSc in a related filed would also be desirable (but not essential). Experience in computational fluids dynamics (CFD) and computer programming would also be preferable.

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