The direct and inverse blade-design iterations for the selection of isolated airfoils and gas turbine blade cascades are enormously reduced if the initial blade shape has performance characteristics near the desirable ones. This paper presents the hierarchical development of three direct blade-design methods of increasing utility for generating two-dimensional blade shapes. The methods can be used to generate inputs to the direct- or inverse-blade-design sequences for subsonic or supersonic airfoils for compressors and turbines, or isolated airfoils. The examples included for illustration are typical modern turbine cascades, and they have been designed by the direct method exclusively. The first method specifies the airfoil shapes with analytical polynomials. It shows that continuous curvature and continuous slope of curvature are necessary conditions to minimize the possibility of flow separation, and to lead to improved blade designs. The second method specifies the airfoil shapes with parametric fourth-order polynomials, which result in continuous-slope-of-curvature airfoils, with smooth Mach number and pressure distributions. This method is time consuming. The third method specifies the airfoil shapes by using a mixture of analytical polynomials and mapping the airfoil surfaces from a desirable curvature distribution. The third method provides blade surfaces with desirable performance in very few direct-design iterations. In all methods the geometry near the leading edge is specified by a thickness distribution added to a construction line, which eliminates the leading edge overspeed and laminar-separation regions. The blade-design methods presented in this paper can be used to improve the aerodynamic and heat transfer performance of turbomachinery cascades, and they can result in high-performance airfoils in very few iterations.

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