Penn State

Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering

Turbine Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics Group

Overview of ExCCL and START Labs

The Turbine Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics Group, in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State, brings together two laboratories working on advanced topics in convective heat transfer for gas turbine engines. The Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory (ExCCL) conducts studies of fundamental turbulence and applied convective heat transfer. Subjects being researched include interactions between the highly turbulent combustor flow and the downstream turbine, endwall secondary flow effects, and turbine blade cooling techniques. These problems are approached both experimentally as well as computationally. The Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) lab contains a new test turbine facility that is capable of testing true scale turbine hardware. The focus of START is on increasing turbine efficiencies through improved seals that reduce leakages between turbine components. Also of primary interest is better understanding of airfoil heat transfer under rotating conditions.

PSU ExCCL and START students, faculty, and staff at the Penn State Lion Shrine.



Recent News


Shawn Siroka Receives ASME-IGTI Scholarship

October 21, 2016

Shawn Siroka, a mechanical engineering graduate student at Penn State, was selected to receive a 2016 ASME-IGTI Scholarship.Shawn completed his BSME degree from Penn State in May 2016 after which he completed an internship at Pratt & Whitney. In August 2016, Shawn returned to Penn State to join the START lab where he plans to complete his doctoral degree. During his undergraduate program, Shawn completed undergraduate research with Professor Steve Lynch in which he worked on developing the use of heat flux gages. As a graduate student, Shawn is continuing his work on the use of heat flux gages for measuring heat transfer in the turbine test rig. Shawn was also the recipient of the Dr. John P. Karidis Award for Research Achievement in Mechanical Engineering, which is annually awarded to an undergraduate in mechanical engineering at Penn State. Read more...


START Graduates First PhD

August 24, 2016

The START Lab can now proudly boast about the successful completion of the first doctoral student to have completed his degree in the newly commissioned laboratory. Dr. Kenneth Clark successfully defended his dissertation entitled "Sealing Effectiveness of a Turbine Rim Seal at Engine-Relevant Conditions " on August 24, 2016. Ken had a unique doctoral experience in which he saw the full completion of the START facility and test turbine. He played a critical role in the building of the new facility and, in particular, made major contributions to the instrumentation of the test turbine.

Ken completed his BSME and MSME at Brigham Young University in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He was awarded a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and joined the Penn State START team in August 2011. He developed a new measurement technique for the START facility that involved the use of CO2 as a flow tracer to be able to distinguish the secondary air supply from the turbine main gas flow supply. He conducted the first successful test campaigns for both a stationary and rotating turbine configuration. The data he collected is the first of its kind made available to the sponsor with turbine engine hardware operating under turbine relevant flow conditions.

While in START, he co-authored the first three publications based on the test turbine. Throughout his degree program, Ken's work was awarded the Best Student Poster at the NASA Thermal & Fluids Analysis Workshop and he was also awarded the Alan J. Brockett Pratt & Whitney-Penn State Outstanding Student Award. He was also recognized by the College of Engineering by being awarded a Distinguished Teaching Fellow position in which he taught an undergraduate course in gas turbines.

After completing his degree, Dr. Clark along with his supportive wife Kari and two children, will move to Connecticut. Ken will start his career at United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney where he will be a Senior Engineer working on the development of a new compressor test rig.


START Completes First Successful Test Campaign

August 11, 2016

Since 2011, planning, designing, and building have occupied those working in the START Lab, especially Dr. Michael Barringer, PhD candidate Ken Clark, and Dave Johnson. Alongside these individuals was the continued support and efforts by many engineers at United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney and at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory.

In February 2016, after much anticipation, the START test turbine and all the laboratory subsystems were completed, commissioned, and ready to operate. During the next three months, the first official test campaign was enacted that included 22 test days operating the turbine between 8 to 12 hours per day without interruption. Over 150 flow conditions were simulated with over 1800 data points acquired.

The focus of this first test campaign was on the sealing effectiveness in the rim cavity area upstream of the first blade, which was rotating at nearly 10,000 rpm. The data acquired from this first campaign made use of CO2 as a flow tracer to distinguish the secondary flow supply from that of the main gas path flow supply. Pressure taps that were additively manufactured into the turbine components were used to sample the flow. Additive manufacturing was used to place taps in locations that would not have otherwise been possible. The experimental results that were acquired were the first of its kind given the use of engine relevant hardware in the most relevant turbine conditions, outside of an actual operating engine. Comparisons of the data are being made to well-accepted correlations given in the public literature.


PSU ExCCL and START Attend IGTI's TurboExpo in Seoul, South Korea

June 16, 2016

Members of PSU ExCCL and the START lab attended the ASME TurboExpo 2016 in Seoul, South Korea to present their gas turbine research findings to an international audience. Graduate students Ken Clark, Curtis Stimpson, Eric Lange, and Shane Haydt recieved Student Advisory Committee Travel Awards, while Katie Kirsch and Jacob Snyder traveled to Seoul as the Student Advisory Committee's Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively. Lab members who presented papers included:

— Ken Clark, "Using a Tracer Gas to Quantify Sealing Effectiveness for Engine Realistic Rim Seals";

— Ken Clark, "Effects of Purge Jet Momentum on Sealing Effectiveness";

— Jeff Gibson, "Pressure Distortion Effects on Rim Seal Performance in a Linear Cascade";

— Shane Haydt, "The Effect of Meter-Diffuser Offset on Shaped Film Cooling Hole Adiabatic Effectiveness";

— Katie Kirsch, "Heat Transfer and Pressure Loss Measurements in Additvely Manufactured Wavy Microchannels";

— Eric Lange, "Computational and Experimental Studies of Midpassage Gap Leakage and Misalignment for a Non-Axisymmetric Contoured Turbine Blade Endwall";

— Robert Schroeder, "Scaling Roughness Effects on Pressure Loss and Heat Transfer of Additvely Manufactured Channels";

— Robert Schroeder, "Thermal Field Measurements for a Shaped Hole at Low and High Freestream Turbulence Intensity";

— Curtis Stimpson, "Effect of In-Hole Roughness on Film Cooling from a Shaped Hole";

Other attendees included Dr. Karen Thole, Dr. Stephen Lynch, and graduate students Jacob Snyder and Adam Shrager.


Allan J. Brockett Pratt & Whitney - Penn State Student Award Give to Shane Haydt

June 6, 2016

The annual Allan J. Brockett Pratt & Whitney - Penn State Student Award was announced at the Pratt & Whitney semi-annual review meeting for the Penn State Center of Excellence. The award honors the support given by Mr. Allan J. Brockett, VP Engineering at Pratt & Whitney, and is given to a graduate student who demonstrates "technical excellence and leadership to the gas turbine industry".

The winner of the Allan J. Brockett award for 2016 is Mr. Shane Haydt. Mr. Haydt received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Penn State University and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Penn State's ExCCL Lab. For his doctoral research at Penn State, Shane is focusing on the flowfield and heat transfer related to coolant injection from compound angled film cooling holes. Shane's research is supported by Pratt & Whitney, and he also did two internships at the company in 2012 and 2013. Shane also served as the graduate assistant for the Engineering Ambassadors program for the past two years.