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New Approach to the Inspection of Cooling Holes in Aero-Engines

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5 Author(s)
Shetty, D. ; Coll. of Eng., Lawrence Technol. Univ., Southfield, MI ; Eppes, T. ; Campana, C. ; Filburn, T.
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The need for improved thermal efficiency of jet engines has led to changes in the design of combustor turbine blades. Modern turbine stage inlet temperatures now exceed the melting point temperatures of turbine blade materials. Super alloys, based on nickel, have been developed for use as blades, guide vanes, afterburners etc. To combat and avert blade failure caused by excessive operating temperatures, film cooling has been incorporated into blade design. In film cooling, cool air is bled from the compressor stage, ducted into internal chambers of the turbine blades, and discharged through small holes in the blade walls. This provides a thin, cool, insulating blanket along the external surface of the turbine blade. Large numbers of shaped holes have allowed designers to maximize the cooling effect. This paper explores a new design for inspecting turbine blade cooling holes. We examine the inspection techniques currently in use and present a novel optical technique as an alternative. Our design consists of two stages of inspection, each optically based. The first stage uses a camera positioned axially in line with a laser beam. A sample is mounted on an XY micro-positioning stage, and a vision system captures an image of the sample and displays the size and shape of each entrance hole. To measure the presence of a bottom, a second XYZ inspection stage is used. Using a small collimating tube, a micro-beam illuminates a drilled hole in a pre-programmed fashion.

Published in:

Mechtronic and Embedded Systems and Applications, 2008. MESA 2008. IEEE/ASME International Conference on

Date of Conference:

12-15 Oct. 2008

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