A high cycle fatigue failure of a low pressure turbine blade was investigated. Strain gauge tests of a running engine indicated a high dynamic response of the blade at the nozzle passing frequency. This could be attributed to the excitation of a bladed disc mode of vibration. A Finite Element analysis of the low pressure turbine blades and discs, together with bench testing of the complete structure, confirmed the existence of a high frequency 2nd Nodal Diameter mode of vibration. The levels of dynamic strain determined through strain gauge tests were found to be sufficient enough to explain the failure at the given location.

Having understood the problem, the situation was resolved through the use of Finite Element analysis with a short term modification to the original blade aerofoil to prevent the mode from being excited.

An aero/mechanical re-design of both the low pressure turbine rotor and the stator was undertaken to resolve the problem by both returning the blade to avoid high frequency excitation, and also by reducing the forcing effect of the nozzle passing frequency. The new design has been validated through strain gauge tests and endurance tests. A further improvement in performance was also obtained.

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