For over 50 years, high-pressure gas turbine blades have been cooled using air bled from the compressor. This cooling results in very high rates of heat transfer, both within the fluid and within the blade. The heat transfer often occurs across large differences in temperature and thus is highly irreversible. It is therefore surprising that little is understood about the effect of this heat transfer on turbine performance. This paper solves this problem by applying a new method known as mechanical work potential, or euergy, analysis. The key consequence of the analysis is that the value placed on all heat, relative to work, becomes set by the Joule (Brayton) cycle efficiency. This means that when heat is transferred locally within a flow, or when viscous reheat occurs, the value of this heat should be set by the Joule cycle efficiency. This paper demonstrates how the new method can be implemented both in the preliminary design systems and in the analysis of conjugate CFD solutions of complex engine representative components. The new method provides the cooling designer with a new way of raising turbine efficiency, a form of recuperation locally in the flow. This method offers the exciting potential to design cooling systems that, when added to a blade profile, actually reduces profile loss by up to 7.3%.

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