This paper discusses the application of microwave sensing to turbine airfoil health monitoring. The proposed microwave system operates at 6- and 24-GHz and is applicable to both blade tip-clearance and blade tip-timing measurements. One of the main advantages of microwave systems, compared to other technology such as capacitive or eddy current, is that it can be installed for long term operations in the harsh environment of the first turbine stages. The monitoring of blade tip-timing and tip-clearance pattern is useful for detecting abnormal blade behavior due to structural damage. Such a sensing system can also be used in actively maintaining optimal blade-to-casing clearance, thereby enhancing turbine efficiency. This paper presents blade tip-clearance pattern monitoring based on microwave measurements. First, a laboratory study shows the ability of the system to consistently measure tip clearance pattern. Then tip clearance pattern measurements from a real engine test are presented. While this paper presents results from system testing on tip clearance, it is expected that this study will be carried forward in the next phase to demonstrate tip-timing measurement and further, to show how such as system can form the basis for a more comprehensive health management system.
How to Cite
gas turbines, diagnostics and prognostics, Blade Health Monitoring, Microwave sensing, clearance
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