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Compressor Blades And Stators

Except for some aero-derivative gas turbines, boroscope ports are rarely provided within the
compressor section of the gas turbine. However, the compressor inlet guide vanes and rst
stage compressor blades are accessible via the clean air compartment immediately upstream
of the gas turbine. For a thorough examination, a boroscope can be inserted through the inlet
guide vanes and all of the rst stage blades inspected as the compressor rotor is turned. A
boroscope view of the rst
stage compressor blades is shown in Figure 13-4. Note: the tar-like substance on the leading
edge of the airfoil demonstrates the detail that can be achieved. This amount of contamination
does affect
compressor performance. Contamination such as this can be removed with a wash solution as
recommended by the gas turbine manufacturer. However, if the wash/rinse length is
inadequate, the residue will be distributed over a larger portion of the airfoil surface. This is
shown in Figure 13-5. As the contamination accumulates the compressor efciency would
continue to deteriorate. The rst stage compressor stators can also be partially viewed
through the inlet guide vanes and the rst
stage blades. It is advisable to use extreme caution when inserting the boroscope probe into
the blade path (be sure the rotor is locked so that it cannot be turned). Figure 13-6 is a
boroscope view of the last (eleventh) stage stators and blades of a 5,000 brake horsepower
gas turbine. All of the boroscope photographs were taken using a 35mm single lens reex
camera attached to a exible ber optic boroscope. As there was not a boroscope port
provided on this particular unit, a fuel nozzle was removed to inspect this area. After
removing a fuel nozzle, the boroscope was snaked into the diffuser case toward the stators
and blades. Note that with proper lighting the view is clear and sharp. While only a few stator
vanes can be viewed from this position, by turning
the rotor all the compressor blades can be viewed. To view all stator vanes, continue
removing fuel nozzles around the circumference of the engine. Figure 13-7 is a photograph of
the last (eleventh)
stage compressor blades similar to that of Figure 13-6. The contamination visible in the
specically between the blades in Figure 13-7, would have been obvious when viewed
through a boroscope. Due to the relative light weight of compressor blades, especially at the
higher compression stages, blade failures may not create a noticeable amount of damage
downstream of the compressor. Often only minimal damage is visible at the discharge of the
compressor or
the combustor inlet. Even damage resulting from severe compressor surge, which could wipe
out several rows of compressor blades (and stator vanes if they are the cantilever design),
seldom show a great amount of damage at the compressor discharge stators. However, a
coating of a plasma spray consisting of compressor material will be noticeable on the
turbine blades and turbine nozzles. This is material from the compressor blades and stators,
that melts as it travels through
the combustor and is deposited as a plasma spray on the turbine airfoils.