Combustion Section Inspection (Part Two)

in Engine Maintenance and Operation

Fuel Nozzle and Support Assemblies

Clean all carbon deposits from the nozzles by washing with a cleaning fluid approved by the engine manufacturer, and remove the softened deposits with a soft bristle brush. It is desirable to have filtered air passing through the nozzle during the cleaning operation to carry away deposits as they are loosened. Make sure all parts are clean. Dry the assemblies with clean, filtered air. Because the spray characteristics of the nozzle may become impaired, no attempt should be made to clean the nozzles by scraping with a hard implement or by rubbing with a wire brush. Inspect each component part of the fuel nozzle assembly for nicks and burrs. Many fuel nozzles can be checked by flowing fluid through the nozzle under pressure and closely checking the flow pattern coming for the nozzle.


Turbine Disk Inspection

The inspection for cracks is very important because cracks are not normally allowed. Crack detection, when dealing with the turbine disk and blades, is mostly visual, although structural inspection techniques can be used, such as penetrant methods and others to aid in the inspection. Cracks on the disk necessitate the rejection of the disk and replacement of the turbine rotor. Slight pitting caused by the impingement of foreign matter may be blended by stoning and polishing.

Turbine Blade Inspection

Turbine blades are usually inspected and cleaned in the same manner as compressor blades. However, because of the extreme heat under which the turbine blades operate, they are more susceptible to damage. Using a strong light and a magnifying glass, inspect the turbine blades for stress rupture cracks and deformation of the leading edge. [Figures 10-64 and 10-65]

Figure 10-64. Stress rupture cracks.

Figure 10-64. Stress rupture cracks.

Figure 10-65. Turbine blade waviness.

Figure 10-65. Turbine blade waviness.

Stress rupture cracks usually appear as minute hairline cracks on or across the leading or trailing edge at a right angle to the edge length. Visible cracks may range in length from one-sixteenth inch upward. Deformation, caused by over-temperature, may appear as waviness and/or areas of varying airfoil thickness along the leading edge. The leading edge must be straight and of uniform thickness along its entire length, except for areas repaired by blending. Do not confuse stress rupture cracks or deformation of the leading edge with foreign material impingement damage or with blending repairs to the blade. When any stress rupture cracks or deformation of the leading edges of the first-stage turbine blades are found, an over-temperature condition must be suspected. Check the individual blades for stretch and the turbine disk for hardness and stretch. Blades removed for a detailed inspection or for a check of turbine disk stretch must be re-installed in the same slots from which they were removed. Number the blades prior to removal.

The turbine blade outer shroud should be inspected for air seal wear. If shroud wear is found, measure the thickness of the shroud at the worn area. Use a micrometer or another suitable and accurate measuring device that ensures a good reading in the bottom of the comparatively narrow wear groove. If the remaining radial thickness of the shroud is less than that specified, the stretched blade must be replaced. Typical blade inspection requirements are indicated in Figure 10-66. Blade tip curling within a one-half inch square area on the leading edge of the blade tip is usually acceptable if the curling is not sharp. Curling is acceptable on the trailing edge if it does not extend beyond the allowable area. Any sharp bends that may result in cracking or a piece breaking out of the turbine blade is cause for rejection, even though the curl may be within the allowable limits. Each turbine blade should be inspected for cracks.

Figure 10-66. Typical turbine blade inspection.

Figure 10-66. Typical turbine blade inspection. [click image to enlarge]

Turbine Blade Replacement Procedure

Turbine blades are generally replaceable, subject to moment-weight limitations. These limitations are contained in the engine manufacturer’s applicable technical instructions. If visual inspection of the turbine assembly discloses several broken, cracked, or eroded blades, replacing the entire turbine assembly may be more economical than replacing the damaged blades. [Figure 10-67]

Figure 10-67. Typical turbine rotor blade moment-weight distribution.

Figure 10-67. Typical turbine rotor blade moment-weight distribution.

In the initial buildup of the turbine, a complete set of 54 blades made in coded pairs (two blades having the same code letters) is laid out on a bench in the order of diminishing moment-weight. The code letters, indicating the moment-weight balance in ounces, are marked on the rear face of the fir-tree section of the blade (viewing the blade as installed at final assembly of the engine). The pair of blades having the heaviest moment-weight is numbered 1 and 28; the next heaviest pair of blades is numbered 2 and 29; the third heaviest pair is numbered 3 and 30. This is continued until all the blades have been numbered. Mark a number 1 on the face of the hub on the turbine disk. The number 1 blade is then installed adjacent to the number 1 on the disk. [Figure 10-68] The remaining blades are then installed consecutively in a clockwise direction, viewed from the rear face of the turbine disk. If there are several pairs of blades having the same code letters, they are installed consecutively before going to the next code letters. If a blade requires replacement, the diametrically opposite blade must also be replaced. Computer programs generally determine the location for turbine blades for turbine wheels on modern engines.

Figure 10-68. Turbine blades.

Figure 10-68. Turbine blades.

Turbine Nozzle Inlet Guide Vane Inspection

After removing the required components, the first stage turbine blades and turbine nozzle vanes are accessible for inspection. The blade limits specified in the engine manufacturer’s overhaul and service instruction manual should he adhered to. Figure 10-69 shows where cracks usually occur on a turbine nozzle assembly. Slight nicks and dents are permissible if the depth of damage is within limits. Inspect the nozzle vanes for nicks or cracks. Small nicks are not cause for vane rejection, provided such nicks blend out smoothly.

Figure 10-69. Turbine nozzle assembly defects.

Figure 10-69. Turbine nozzle assembly defects. [click image to enlarge]

Inspect the nozzle vane supports for defects caused by the impingement of foreign particles. Use a stone to blend any doubtful nicks to a smooth radius. Like turbine blades, it is possible to replace a maximum number of turbine nozzle vanes in some engines. If more than the maximum vanes are damaged, a new turbine nozzle vane assembly must be installed. With the tailpipe (exhaust nozzle) removed, the rear turbine stage can be inspected for any cracks or evidence of blade stretch. Additional nozzle stages can also be inspected with a strong light by looking through the rear-stage turbine.

Clearances

Checking the clearances is one of the procedures in the maintenance of the turbine section of a turbine engine. The manufacturer’s service and overhaul manual gives the procedures and tolerances for checking the turbine. Turbine clearances being measured at various locations are shown in Figures 10-70 and 10-71. To obtain accurate readings, special tools provided by each manufacturer must be used as described in the service instructions for specific engines.

Figure 10-70. Measuring the turbine blades to shroud (tip) clearances.

Figure 10-70. Measuring the turbine blades to shroud (tip) clearances.

Figure 10-71. Measuring turbine wheel to exhaust cone clearance.

Figure 10-71. Measuring turbine wheel to exhaust cone clearance. 

Exhaust Section

The exhaust section of the turbine engine is susceptible to heat cracking. This section must be thoroughly inspected along with the inspection the combustion section and turbine section of the engine. Inspect the exhaust cone and exhaust nozzle for cracks, warping, buckling, or hotspots. Hotspots on the tail cone are a good indication of a malfunctioning fuel nozzle or combustion chamber.

The inspection and repair procedures for the hot section of any one gas turbine engine share similarities to those of other gas turbine engines. One usual difference is the nomenclature applied to the various parts of the hot section by the different manufacturers. Other differences include the manner of disassembly, the tooling necessary, and the repair methods and limits.