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Impingement Cooling: Heat Transfer Measurement by Liquid Crystal Thermography

In modern gas turbines parts of combustion chamber and turbine section are under heavy heat load, for example, the rotor inlet temperature is far higher than the melting point of the rotor blade material.

These high temperatures causes thermal stresses in the material, therefore it is very important to cool the components for safe operation and to achieve desired component life. But on the other hand the cooling reduces the turbine efficiency, for that reason it is vital to understand and optimize the cooling technique.

In this project Thermochromic Liquid Crystals (TLCs) are used to measure distribution of heat transfer coefficient over a scaled up combustor liner section. TLCs change their color with the variation of temperature in a particular temperature range.

The color-temperature change relation of a TLC is sharp and precise; therefore TLCs are used to measure surface temperature by painting the TLC over a test surface. This method is called Liquid Crystal Thermography (LCT). LCT is getting popular in industry due to its high-resolution results, repeatability and ease of use.

Test model in present study consists of two plates, target plate and impingement plate. Cooling of the target plate is achieved by impingement of air coming through holes in the impingement plate. The downstream surface of the impingement plate is then cooled by cross flow and re-impingement of the coolant air.

Heat transfer on the target plate is not uniform; areas under the jet which are called stagnation points have high heat transfer as compare to the areas away from the center of jet. It is almost the same situation for the impingement plate but the location of stagnation point is different. A transient technique is used to measure this non-uniform heat transfer distribution. It is assumed that the plates are semi-infinitely thick and there is no lateral heat transfer in the plates. To fulfill the assumptions a calculated time limit is followed and the test plates are made of Plexiglas which has very low thermal conductivity.

The transient technique requires a step-change in the mainstream temperature of the test section. However, in practical a delayed increase in mainstream temperature is attained. This issue is dealt by applying Duhamel’s theorem on the step-change heat transfer equation. MATLAB is used to get the Hue data of the recorded video frames and calculate the time taken for each pixel to reach a predefined surface temperature. Having all temperatures and time values the heat transfer equation is iteratively solved to get the value of heat transfer coefficient of each and every pixel of the test surface.

In total fifteen tests are conducted with different Reynolds number and different jet-to-target plate distances. It is concluded that for both the target and impingement plates, a high Reynolds number provides better overall heat transfer and increase in jet-to-target distance decreases the overall heat transfer.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Omer, Muhammad

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