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Modelling and Simulation in Engineering
Volume 2011, Article ID 837921, 13 pages
Research Article

CFD-Guided Development of Test Rigs for Studying Erosion and Large-Particle Damage of Thermal Barrier Coatings

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44131, USA

Received 25 November 2010; Revised 4 February 2011; Accepted 18 February 2011

Academic Editor: Guan Yeoh

Copyright © 2011 Maria A. Kuczmarski et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Burner rigs are routinely used to qualify materials for gas turbine applications. The most useful rig tests are those that can replicate, often in an accelerated manner, the degradation that materials experience in the engine. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can be used to accelerate the successful development and continuous improvement of combustion burner rigs for meaningful materials testing. Rig development is typically an iterative process of making incremental modifications to improve the rig performance for testing requirements. Application of CFD allows many of these iterations to be done computationally before hardware is built or modified, reducing overall testing costs and time, and it can provide an improved understanding of how these rigs operate. This paper describes the use of CFD to develop burner test rigs for studying erosion and large-particle damage of thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) used to protect turbine blades from high heat fluxes in combustion engines. The steps used in this study—determining the questions that need to be answered regarding the test rig performance, developing and validating the model, and using it to predict rig performance—can be applied to the efficient development of other test rigs.