Cracking at the trailing edge of a heavy duty industrial gas turbine blade has been observed on a number of serviced parts. The cracking usually occurs within 1.0″ of the platform. The trailing edge (TE) cracks have been found to propagate through the airfoil, leading to airfoil separation and severe engine damage. Liburdi Turbine Services has undertaken an independent metallurgical and stress analysis of the blade to determine the cause of the cracking. This paper covers the stress and low cycle fatigue (LCF) analysis of a platform undercut modification designed to mitigate crack initiation and thus increase part life. A finite element model of the blade was developed. Thermal loading was applied from a conjugate heat and mass transfer analysis between the blade, gas path flow and internal cooling flow. Base load conditions were used at turbine inlet temperature 2482°F. Results showed that the peak stress was present in the TE cooling slot corner, and was large enough to cause local yielding and LCF. The geometry of the modification was shown to strongly influence stress in the TE airfoil region and in the undercut region. Thus a balance was found to provide sufficiently low stresses in both regions and still be practical for machining. The modification was found to decrease stress in the TE cooling slot by a factor of 0.71 relative to that of the current OEM design, and increase life by 1.79 times. A viable modification has been demonstrated to extend blade life by reducing local stress and thus mitigating crack initiation at the airfoil TE.

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