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THEORETICAL ESTIMATE OF THE LIFE OF GAS-TURBINE-ENGINE

COMPRESSOR BLADES
A~ V. Prokopenko and M. V. Baumshtein

UDC 539.432+620.178.3+620.194.8+

620.197.5+621.438+621.515
Unfortunately, cases of blade breakage are encountered in gas-turblne-engine service,
The fracture process here generally takes the form of fatigue cracking. In such cases, it
is important both to select a material with the greatest resistance to crack growth and to
develop methods to predict blade life.
The present work offers a comparative analysis of the life of compressor blades in
marine gas-turbine engines (GTE) made of steel KhI7N2 and alloy VTZ-I with allowance for
service conditions. We studied blades from the first working stage of the compressor.
The width of the blade fin was 30 ram, the height of the fin -- 70 ram.
The service conditions of compressor blades in marine GTE's are characterized by the
presence of seawater in the glow-through portion. Despite the fact that the blades are
made of quality stainless steels and titanium alloys, both the endurance limits and crack
resistances of these materials are unacceptably low in a corrosive environment [i, 2]. The
use of the cathodic protection proposed in [3] substantially increases both the critical
stress intensity factor (at which no crack growth takes place) and the endurance of the
blades.
The results of studies of the crack resistance of the materials [2, 3] were generalized
in the traditional form of dependences of fatigue crack growth rate (FCR) on the stress
intensity factor (SIF), with the effect of various other factors (test medium, site of
fatigue crack appearance, material) on the rate of blade fatigue fracture having been expressed in implicit form. On the other hand, the method of determining the SIF in GTE
blades [4] by integrating FCR--SIF functions can be used to obtain customary engineering
quantities -- crack size, amplitude of variable stresses, number of load cycles -- for comparative analysis. The above problems are of great practical significance.
In [4], the stress intensity factor in bending vibrations of blades with a crack was
determined from the formula

K~= %r (0 V~,

(1)

where ffa is the amplitude of the variable bending stress at a characteristic point on the
blade cross section; c, crack length; Y(c), form factor.
The dependences of the form factor on crack size for cases of crack propagation from
the inlet and outlet edges of the blade, as well as from the back edge of the blade are
described by the following respective equations for blades of the investigated structure
[4]
Y ---- l 676869 - - 0 4357308c -6 0 00819338c 2 - - 0 00651805c 3 - 6 0 0001885835c~;

(2)

00008957427c~;

(3)

Y=

1 582498 - - 0 302678c -6 0 0431735c 2 - - 0 003118472c 3 -6 0

Y -~- 0 9062707 - - 0 0177964c - - 0 01016365c ~ -}- 0 00128358c 3 - - 0 00003265182c 4.

(4)

The stresses at which the crack does not grow are determined from the formula

K,b
crth =

r'(c) l / ~ '

(5)

where Kth is the critical (threshold) stress intensity factor.

Institute of Strength Problems, Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, Kiev. Translated from Problemy Prochnosti, No. 5, pp. 32-37, May, 1981. Original article submitted
April 29, 1980.

0039-2316/81/1305-0574507.50

9 1982 Plenum Publishing Corporation

575

%, MPa

~00

0,1"-I~
t-

3O0

,'

IL.

I1

!1t/

200
[75
1.5

I l tl

r00

/1ti

LO
0,1

1.0

105

I0 C m m

Fig. i

I0~

t I

--%.....~c=~;]

....~ 1 t<It0
cycles

Fig. 2

Fig. i. Conditions for nonpropagation of fatigue cracks in blades of


steel KhI7N2 and alloy VTZ-I.
(Here and in Figs. 3 and 4, the numbers
1-8 correspond to numbers of series of calculations in Table i.)
Fig. 2. Dependence of life of blades of steel KhI7N2, with cracks of
different length propagating from the inlet edge in air, on the level
of the load.
To calculate the number of load cycles required for the growth of a certain size crack,
we used FCR--SIF relations approximated by the Paris equation:
dc = A (K0",

dN

(6)

where K, is expressed in MPav~m.


In the calcula=ions, we used the values obtained in [2, 3] for the empirical parameters
in Eq. (6) and Kth for alloy VTZ-1 and steel KhI7N2 under different test conditions.
These
values are shown in Table I.
The number of load cycles required for crack propagation was calcula=ed by computer
from the expression
c~

cz

where c~ and ca are the initial and final dimensions of the crack. We analyzed cracks of
sizes 0.1-15 mm. These limits were chosen on the basis of the following considerations.
It
was established earlier [5, 6] that the minimum crack size at which the Paris relation is
valid and at which the critical SIF for the steels is constant is about 0.1 mm.
Since 15 mm
is half the width of the blade fin, in this case the latter (15 mm crack size) may for
practical purposes be considered equivalent to blade fracture.
Table 1 and Fig. 1 show the results of calculation of stresses and crack sizes in
blades in which the crack is no longer growing.
The critical stess intensity factors decrease substantially with an increase in crack size. For example, the stresses differ by a
factor of 2.5 at crack sizes of 0.1 and 1 mm.
Blades of alloy VTZ-I and steel KhlTN2 have
nearly the same conditions for nonpropagation of the crack, but crack propagation begins in
the titanium blades at lower loads than in the steel blades in the presence of a sea salt
solution.
Thus, the corresponding values of oth are 100 and 76 MPa for l-mm cracks growing
from the inlet edge in blades of these two materials.
A similar situation is seen under
conditions of cathodic protection (Oth = 150 and 121 MPa, respectively, at c = i).
It should be noted that the conditions for nonpropagatlon are the same for the steel
blades as in air in the case of cathodic protection.
In the titanium alloys, cathodic
protection does not completely eliminate the unfavorable effect of the corrosive medium.
Shown in the lower part of Fig. 1 is the ratio of the critical amplitudes of variable
stresses in relation to crack size in cases of fatigue crack propagation from different
areas of the blade cross section.
The data here illustrates that cracks growing from the

576

TABLE i.
tions

Characteristics of Nonpropagatlon of Cracks Under Different Test Condi-

Location of
crack

~th, MPa
Crack length, mm

Test medium

l
Cth, MPa
} .r
I

0,5

0,1

15 [ 50

1 IKht7N2 Inlet edge


2
3

Back edge
9utlet edge

inlet edge

5 IVTZ.I
6
7
8

{Kh27N2

Same
>> ~

Air

20,-,'

178i 150 105

48

15 14,G !0,38

6,10 4,866 7,595.10 - n 653 3061228 131


6,10 4,866 7,595.10 -11 401 265] 149 112

49
72

6,10 4,866 7,595.10 -11 369

9,3

1,3

i8,0

0,52

31 8,1

1,0

0,14

5,63 4,732 6,4278.10 - n 342 165 14o ! 98


3,08 3,824 1,192.10 -9 187 90 76 54

45
24

3,7
0,36

0,3
0,09

4,88 5,650 5,745.10 - n

Sea salt
solution
Air
Sea salt
solution
Same, withcath
)dic protection

100

3,98 4,950

,918.10 -11 242


i

I16 100 i 69

13

I5

296

142 121i 85

39 I 1I

2,9

0,2
2

6,13 5,190 9,486.10 -12 369

178 150 I 105

48 I 15

4,6

0,38

inlet edge are the most dangerous, while cracks growing from the back edge are the least
dangerous.
Table 2 shows results of calculation of the quantity

f[Y(c)X~c]-ndc D a comparison of

which for different crack sizes cx and Ca within a single test series at constant oa can give
information on the relative duration of the crack growth process at different stages of crack
growth.
It is apparent from the data in Table 2 that most of the time is spend on crack
growth from 0. I to 0.5 ran. This range accounts for 70-80% of the number of load cycles required for a crack to reach 15 ram. The exception is test series 6, for which this quantity
is 50%. The sections 0.5-1, i-4, and 4-15 ram take similar amounts of loading time to be
realized.
It is understood that this data is of considerable interest for diagnosing cracks
in blades in GTE's in service.
Figure 2 shows results of calculation of the number of load cycles required for crack
growth at dlfferen= initial and final dimensions of the crack.
Representing the calculations
in such a form makes it easiest to evaluate the danger posed by cracks of different lengths.
For example, it is apparent from Fig. 2 that cracks 0.i and 4 mm long will reach 15 mm under
loads of 390 and 220 MPa, respectively, after 106 cycles.
If a blade with a 4-mm-long crack
is loaded with an alternating stress with an amplitude of 390 MPa, the crack will reach 15
mm in only 6.3.10 ~ cycles, etc.
Figure 3 shows comparative estimates of the number of load cycles necessary for cracks
to propagate from 0. i and 0.5 mm in size to 15 nun in steel and titanium blades, while Table
3 shows ratios of these numbers of cycles at certain stress levels.
In both air and the sea
salt solution (with or without cathodic protection), a crack grows to 15 ran considerable
more rapidly in alloy VTZ-I than in the steel.
The ratio of the numbers of load cycles for
the titanium and steel blades are 4-5 in air, 4-14 in the salt solution, and 14-22 in the
salt solution with cathodic protection, i.e., the life of the titanium blades is nearly an
order lower than the life of the steel blades.
The results of the calculations (Fig. 4a and b and the data in Table 3) allow us to
evaluate the effect of the corrosive medium and cathodic protection on blade life. The
presence of a sea salt solution has no effect on crack growth rate in the steel blades.
However, with cathodic protection, the number of load cycles needed for a crack to grow
from 0.5 to 15 ram in the same solution is roughly doubled.
As was noted earlier [3], the
latter is connected with the fact that the sea salt solution cools the crack-tip metal,
while the cathodic protection eliminates the harmful electrochemical effect of the medium.
In the case of an absence of cathodic protection, the cooling process obviously takes place
concurrently with the process of anodic dissolution of the metal at the crack tip, The life
of titanium blades in a sea salt solution is slightly lower than the life in air at low loads
(oa = 200 MPa) and slightly higher at high loads (oa = 400 MPa).
In the presence of cathodic
protection, titanium blade life is two to three times less than in air.

577

l--

e= M P a -

% MPa

z
a

200

7_0

"
O--

QI...I~

\N\ ~
~5-~5

J-- a

~00

~,

200 - 0

"4.\"

~00

- -

200
ab...l~ ~ -

0
,03

10~

-7"-- ---

oI 0 ~

~0~

rO~ '07 ~. cycles


Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 3. Comparison of lives of steel (solid lines) and titanium


(dashed lines) blades under different test conditions: a) in air;
b) in a sea salt solution; c) in a sea salt solution with cathodic
protection.
Fig. 4. Comparison of the lives of steel and titanium blades
under different test conditions (a, b) and the lives, in air, of
steel blades with cracks propagating from different sites on the
fin (c).
TABLE 2. Comparison of Relative Duration of Propagation of Cracks of Certain Sizes
Under Different Test Conditions
C~

J 1Yr ~ ] -nac

Percentage of number of load cycles

c!

No. of series
0,I...0,5 iTim

0,5...I f i l m

1...4

1,7450
28,0770
2,1720
1,8051
1,6541
1,1747
2,4175
1,9913

0,22088
2,09920
0,23625
0,21799
0,22558
0,26125
0,19559
0,20908

0,35610
1,36180
0,30924
0,34366
0,37692
0,55553
0,25527
0,31063

mm

4...15ran],

0,1...0,5 m m

0,5...Imm

I...4 mITl

4.,.15 1~m

0,16376
0,49925
0,35156
0,15351
0,18143
0,37024
0,090913
0,12812

70,2
87,5
70,8
71,6
67,8
49,7
81,7
75,5

8,9
6,6
7,6
8,6
9,3
l 1,0
6,6
7,9

14,3
4,3
I0,I
13,6
15,4
23,5
8,6
11,7

6,6

1,~
11,5
6,2
7,5
15,8
3,1
4,9

Figure 4c shows results of calculation of the life of blades with fatigue cracks growing
from the inlet and outlet edges and the back edge of the blade. The life of blades with
cracks growing from the back edge is substantially higher, by a factor of four or five, than
the life of blades with cracks growing from the inlet or outlet edges. Cracks growing from
the inlet or outlet edges reach dangerous dimensions after about the same number of load
cycles.
Thus, on the basis of the experimental FCR--SIF relations, we conducted a comparative
analysis of the conditions for nonpropagation of fatigue cracks and the lives of GTE compressor blades made of alloy VTZ-I and steel KhI7N2 under different test conditions, The
following was established. The life of titanium blades is an order lower than the life of
steel blades. The presence of a sea salt solution markedly lowers the loads at which crack
propagation begins in both the steel and titanium blades but has little effect on blade life.
In the sea salt solution, the presence of cathodic protection increases the level of stresses
required for the beginning of crack growth and doubles the life of the steel blades, but it

578

TABLE 3. Comparison of Lives of Blades


Under Different Tes Conditions
No.ofseries I
Ratio of nos.
compared
I
(See Table 1)
!;

%, MPa

] of load cycles

200

,%I,%

0,5...15
0,5...15
0,5...15
0,1...15

4,3
4,5
4
4,7
N,/N,
8.2
6,5
4.0

250
400

0,5...15
0,5...15
0,5...15
O,1...15
0,1...15

200
300
400
400

0,5...15
0,5...15
0,5._15
0,1...15

180
20O

400

0,5...15
0,5...15
0,5...15

180
200
400

0,5...15
0,5-.15
0,5...15

300
400
400
4; 6

ct...c,, mm

150

250
400

14,2
7,4

NslN~
7; 8

1; 4; 8

14,4
17
22,2
17,3
I
1
1

N,/N,
2,23
2

1,4

N./N5
5; 6; 7

1; 2; 3

200
400

0,5...15
0,5...15

2O0
400

0,5...15
0,5...15

0,77
1,2

NT/N5
0,54
0,31

Ndtr
400
400

0,5...I5

5,4

0,5..15

Ndlh
1,3

lowers the life of the titanium blades. The most dangerous cracks are those which grow from
the inlet edge of the blade, while the least dangerous are those growing from the back of the
blade.
LITERATURE CITED
!.

2.
3.

4.

5.

6.

V . T . Troshchenko, A. V. Prokopenko, V. N. Torgov, M. V. Baumshtein, and L. V. Getsov,


"Study of the effect of prior service and a corrosive environment on the endurance of
gas-turblne-engine compressor blades," Probl. Prochn., No. 4 (1981).
V . T . Troshchenko, A. V. Prokopenko, and V. N. Torgov, "Effect of a sea salt solution on
fatigue crack growth in stainless steels and alloy VTZ-I," Probl. Prochn., No. 4 (1981).
V . T . Troshchenko, A. V~ Prokopenko, and V. N. Torgov, "Effect of cathodic protection on
the fatigue strength and heat resistance of stainless steels and alloy VTZ-I in a corrosive environment," Probl. Prochn., No. 6 (1981).
A . V . Prokopenko, "Experimental determination of the stress intensity factor for cracks
with a curvilinear front in complex parts such as gas-turblne blades," Probl. Prochn.,
No. 4 (1981).
H. Kitagawa and S. Takahashi, "Applicability of fracture mechanics to very small cracks
of the cracks in the early stage," in: Proc. Second Int. Conf. Mech. Behavior Mat.,
Boston, Mass. (August 20, 1976), pp. 627-631.
S. Usami and S. Shida, "Elastic-plastic analysis of the fatigue limit for a material
with small flaws)" Fatigue Eng. Mater. Struct., ~, No. 4, 471-481 (1979).

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