MSE Research Project Database

High-fidelity simulations of conjugate heat transfer in gas turbines

Project Leader: Richard Sandberg
Staff: Daniel Chung
Primary Contact: Richard Sandberg (
Keywords: energy efficiency; fluid dynamics; numerical modelling; propulsion systems; turbulence
Disciplines: Mechanical Engineering
Domains: Optimisation of resources and infrastructure

Over the last decades, aircraft engines have become significantly more efficient, partly due to better understanding of the various flow regimes present enabled by increasing use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). One of the greatest challenges to modern CFD is the accurate simulation of turbulent phenomena and the conjugate heat transfer in complex environments. A particularly critical component of an aircraft engine is the high-pressure turbine (HPT). The flow in the HPT is transonic, highly turbulent and can involve significant levels of heat transfer to the HPT blades. To make the next generation of engines more efficient and increase their operational life, there is a critical need to accurately predict and understand the detailed flow and heat transfer mechanisms in the highly unsteady environment, driven by thermal gradients from the combustor, wakes from upstream blades and shocks.

In the current project, the capabilities of a highly-optimised high-fidelity DNS/LES code will be extended to include conjugate heat transfer. We will then conduct cutting-edge multi-physics simulations of HPT flows. The objectives of the project are as follows: 1) implement and validate the conjugate heat transfer capability; 2) perform massively parallel simulations with the new capability and use the data to; 3) shed light into the detailed flow and heat transfer mechanisms; and 4) assess current modelling strategies, and if possible, help improve those.