US20100025001A1 - Methods for fabricating gas turbine components using an integrated disposable core and shell die - Google Patents

Methods for fabricating gas turbine components using an integrated disposable core and shell die Download PDF

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US20100025001A1
US20100025001A1 US11/767,637 US76763707A US2010025001A1 US 20100025001 A1 US20100025001 A1 US 20100025001A1 US 76763707 A US76763707 A US 76763707A US 2010025001 A1 US2010025001 A1 US 2010025001A1
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core
shell
integrated
die
method
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US11/767,637
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Ching-Pang Lee
Martin Kin-Fei Lee
Hsin-Pang Wang
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General Electric Co
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General Electric Co
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Assigned to GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY reassignment GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LEE, CHING PANG, LEE, MARTIN KIN-FEI, WANG, HSIN-PANG
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22CFOUNDRY MOULDING
    • B22C9/00Moulds or cores; Moulding processes
    • B22C9/02Sand moulds or like moulds for shaped castings
    • B22C9/04Use of lost patterns
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22CFOUNDRY MOULDING
    • B22C7/00Patterns; Manufacture thereof so far as not provided for in other classes
    • B22C7/02Lost patterns
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B22CASTING; POWDER METALLURGY
    • B22CFOUNDRY MOULDING
    • B22C9/00Moulds or cores; Moulding processes
    • B22C9/02Sand moulds or like moulds for shaped castings
    • B22C9/04Use of lost patterns
    • B22C9/043Removing the consumable pattern

Abstract

Methods involving providing an integrated disposable core and shell die of an authentic gas turbine component, inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die, casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die, removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the at least one through-rod disposed therein, casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold, and removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments herein generally relate to methods for fabricating components using disposable dies. More specifically, embodiments herein generally relate to methods for fabricating gas turbine components, such as blades, nozzles, and shrouds, using integrated disposable core and shell dies having through-rods disposed therein.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Investment casting or the lost-wax process is used for forming complex three dimensional, or 3D, components of a suitable material such as metal.
  • A turbine blade includes an airfoil integrally joined at its root with a blade platform below which is integrally joined a multilobed supporting dovetail. The airfoil is hollow and includes one or more radial channels extending along the span thereof that commence inside the blade dovetail, which has one or more inlets for receiving pressurized cooling air during operation in the engine.
  • The airfoil may have various forms of intricate cooling circuits therein for tailoring cooling of the different portions of the opposite pressure and suction sides of the airfoil between the leading and trailing edges thereof and from the root at the platform to the radially outer tip.
  • In current airfoil designs, complex cooling circuits can include a dedicated channel inside the airfoil along the leading edge for providing internal impingement cooling thereof. A dedicated channel along the thin trailing edge of the airfoil provides dedicated cooling thereof. And, a multi-pass serpentine channel may be disposed in the middle of the airfoil between the leading and trailing edges. The three cooling circuits of the airfoil have corresponding inlets extending through the blade dovetail for separately receiving pressurized cooling air.
  • The cooling channels inside the airfoil may include local features such as short turbulator ribs or pins for increasing the heat transfer between the heated sidewalls of the airfoil and the internal cooling air. The partitions or bridges which separate the radial channels of the airfoil may include small bypass holes therethrough such as the typical impingement cooling holes extending through the forward bridge of the airfoil for impingement cooling the inside of the leading edge during operation.
  • Such turbine blades are typically manufactured from high strength, superalloy metal materials in conventional casting processes. In the common investment casting or lost-wax casting process, a precision ceramic core is first manufactured to conform with the intricate cooling passages desired inside the turbine blade. A precision die or mold is also created which defines the precise 3-D external surface of the turbine blade including its airfoil, platform, and integral dovetail.
  • The ceramic core is assembled inside two die halves, which form a space or void therebetween that defines the resulting metal portions of the blade. Wax is injected into the assembled dies to fill the void and surround the ceramic core encapsulated therein. The two die halves are split apart and removed from the molded wax. The molded wax has the precise configuration of the desired blade and is then coated with a ceramic material to form a surrounding ceramic shell.
  • The wax is melted and removed from the shell leaving a corresponding void or space between the ceramic shell and the internal ceramic core. Molten metal is then poured into the shell to fill the void therein and again encapsulate the ceramic core contained in the shell.
  • The molten metal is cooled and solidified, and then the external shell and internal core are suitably removed leaving behind the desired metallic turbine blade in which the internal cooling passages are found.
  • The cast turbine blade may then undergo subsequent manufacturing processes such as the drilling of suitable rows of film cooling holes through the sidewalls of the airfoil as desired for providing outlets for the internally channeled cooling air which then forms a protective cooling air film or blanket over the external surface of the airfoil during operation in the gas turbine engine.
  • Gas turbine engine efficiency is increased typically by increasing the temperature of the hot combustion gases generated during operation from which energy is extracted by the turbine blades. The turbine blades are formed of superalloy metals, such as nickel based superalloys, for their enhanced strength at high temperature to increase the durability and useful life of the turbine blades.
  • The intricate cooling circuits provided inside the airfoils are instrumental in protecting the blades from the hot combustion gases for the desired long life of the blades in an operating turbine engine.
  • The cooling circuits inside turbine blades are becoming more and more complex and intricate for tailoring the use of the limited pressurized cooling air and maximizing the cooling effectiveness thereof. Any such cooling air bled from the compressor during operation for cooling the turbine blades is not used in the combustion process and correspondingly decreases the overall efficiency of the engine.
  • Recent developments in improving turbine airfoil cooling include the introduction of double walls therein for enhancing local cooling of the airfoil where desired. The typical airfoil includes main channels such as the dedicated leading edge and trailing edge channels and the multi-pass serpentine channels that provide the primary cooling of the airfoil. These channels are typically defined between the thin pressure and suction sidewalls of the airfoil which may be about 40 to 50 mils (about 1.2 mm) thick.
  • In introducing double wall construction of the airfoil, a thin internal wall is provided between the main sidewalls of the airfoil and the main channels therein to define auxiliary or secondary channels which are relatively narrow. The secondary wall may include impingement holes therethrough for channeling from the main flow channels impingement cooling air against the inner surface of the main sidewalls.
  • The introduction of the double wall construction and the narrow secondary flow channels adds to the complexity of the already complex ceramic cores used in typical investment casting of turbine blades. See for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,484,258; 5,660,524; 6,126,396; and 6,174,133. Since the ceramic core identically matches the various internal voids in the airfoil which represent the various cooling channels and features thereof, it becomes correspondingly more complex as the cooling circuit increases in complexity.
  • Each radial channel of the airfoil requires a corresponding radial leg in the ceramic core, and the legs must be suitably interconnected or otherwise supported inside the two dies during the casting process. As the ceramic core legs become thinner, such as for the secondary channels, their strength correspondingly decreases which leads to a reduction in useful yield during the manufacture of the cores that are subject to brittle failure during handling.
  • Since the ceramic cores are separately manufactured and then assembled inside the two die halves, the relative positioning thereof is subject to corresponding assembly tolerances. The walls of the airfoil are relatively thin to begin with, and the features of the ceramic core are also small and precise. Therefore, the relative position of the ceramic core inside the die halves is subject to assembly tolerances which affect the final dimensions and relative position of the intricate cooling circuit inside the thin walls of the resulting airfoil.
  • Additionally, current methods for fabricating turbine components typically address only the steps required to make the internal core. See for example U.S. Patent Application 2005/0006047. Such methods still require the use of wax dies, wax injection and/or external ceramic shell coating to form a casting mold for final casting of the component.
  • Accordingly, there remains a need for simplified methods for fabricating gas turbine components, and in particular airfoils, having complex internal designs.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments described herein generally relate to methods involving providing an integrated disposable core and shell die of an authentic gas turbine component, inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die, casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die, removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the at least one through-rod disposed therein, casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold, and removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.
  • Embodiments herein also generally relate to methods involving generating a numeric model of an authentic gas turbine component, the numeric model having an outer shell die disposed thereabout, fabricating an integrated disposable core and shell die of the authentic gas turbine component, inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die, casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die, removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the at least one through-rod disposed therein, casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold, and removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.
  • Embodiments herein also generally relate to methods involving providing a numeric model of an authentic airfoil having a plurality of internal channels, the numeric model generated using computer aided design and having an outer shell disposed thereabout, fabricating an integrated disposable core and shell die of the numeric model of the authentic airfoil using an additive layer manufacturing process selected from the group consisting of micro-pen deposition, selective laser sintering, laser wire deposition, fused deposition, ink jet deposition, electron beam melting, laser engineered net shaping, direct metal laser sintering, direct metal deposition and combinations thereof, inserting a plurality of through-rods through the integrated disposable core and shell die, casting an integrated core and shell mold comprising a ceramic slurry inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die, curing the ceramic slurry to produce an integrated core and shell casting mold comprising a solidified ceramic, removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the plurality of through-rods disposed therein, casting an authentic airfoil replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold, and removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the plurality of through-rods to obtain the authentic airfoil replica.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the invention, it is believed that the embodiments set forth herein will be better understood from the following description in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which like reference numerals identify like elements, whether being described in reference to authentic components or models thereof, as set forth herein below.
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of one embodiment of an authentic turbine blade in accordance with the description herein;
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the turbine blade of FIG. 1 taken along A-A;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of one embodiment of a method for using an authentic turbine blade to make a numeric model of the blade as well as a corresponding integrated disposable core and shell die thereof;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic cross-sectional representation of one embodiment of a 2D numeric model of the turbine blade of FIG. 2 having an added outer shell die thereabout;
  • FIG. 5 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the integrated disposable core and shell die of FIG. 3 taken along X-X having added through-rods extending therethrough;
  • FIG. 6 is a schematic cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the integrated disposable core and shell die of FIG. 5 after injection with a mold material to fill the voids and form an integrated core and shell casting mold;
  • FIG. 7 is a schematic cross-sectional view of one embodiment of an integrated core and shell casting mold after the disposable core and shell die has been removed;
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic cross-sectional view of one embodiment of an integrated casting mold after injection with an alloy to form an authentic turbine blade replica;
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic cross-sectional view of an authentic blade replica after removal of the shell portion of the integrated casting mold; and
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic cross-sectional view of one embodiment of an authentic blade replica after removal of the core portion of the integrated casting mold and the through-rods.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments herein generally relate to methods for fabricating gas turbine components using an integrated disposable core and shell die. More particularly, embodiments herein generally relate to methods involving providing an integrated disposable core and shell die of an authentic gas turbine component, inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die, casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die having the at least one through-rod therein, removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold, casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold, and removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.
  • While embodiments herein may generally describe the fabrication of turbine blades, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the description should not be limited to such. The present embodiments are applicable to the fabrication of any component having a core, such as but not limited to, turbine blades and portions thereof, turbine nozzles, including vanes and bands, and shrouds.
  • Turning to the figures, FIG. 1 shows an authentic turbine blade 10 (henceforth “turbine blade” or “blade”), which is one embodiment of a gas turbine component 11 that can be fabricated using the methods set forth herein. By “authentic” it is meant a component that is capable of installation and use in a gas turbine engine. Turbine blade 10 can include an airfoil 12, which can have a generally concave pressure side 14, a generally convex suction side 16 opposed thereto. Airfoil 12 may be integrally coupled to a platform 18 at the root 20 of airfoil 12. Platform 18 can define an inner boundary for the hot combustion gases which pass over airfoil 12 during engine operation. A multilobed mounting dovetail 22 may also be integrally formed below platform 18 for mounting turbine blade 10 in a corresponding dovetail slot in the perimeter of a turbine rotor disk.
  • Blade 10 can be single-walled or multi-walled and have a complex three dimensional, or 3D, configuration as required for its proper use in a gas turbine engine. As mentioned, the airfoil portion of blade 10 may include a substantially hollow interior 21 (indicated in FIG. 1) that can include a suitable internal cooling circuit comprising at least one internal channel 24 that occupies at least a portion of the hollow interior, as shown in FIG. 2. As used herein throughout, “at least one” means that there may be one or there may be more than one. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the hollow interior may include a plurality of internal channels 24. Channels 24 can be positioned between the sides of the airfoil and can extend the length of blade 10 to create inlets (not shown), which can extend through the platform and dovetail for receiving pressurized cooling air during engine operation. Some channels 24 may be connected to one another by an opening 39 that allows for fluid communication between the channels. Opening 39 can be a cross-over impingement hole or a trailing edge slot, for example.
  • Turning to FIG. 3, a numeric model of turbine blade 10 may be designed and defined in any conventional manner, including computer aided design (CAD), which uses suitable software programmed into a conventional computer 26. “Numeric model” refers to a computerized model of the component. It is common practice to create numeric models of highly complex parts, such as turbine blades, by using 3D numeric coordinates of the entire configuration of the component including both external and internal surfaces thereof. Accordingly, turbine blade 10 may be represented by its two dimensional, or 2D, numeric model 28 as generated by computer 26. Numeric model 28 may include a precise definition of the entire external surface of blade 10 including the airfoil, platform and dovetail, as well as its internal channels and openings. In one embodiment shown in FIG. 4, numeric model 28 may include a computer generated outer shell die 30 added thereabout, which will aid in the later fabrication of an integrated core and shell die, as explained herein below.
  • Returning to FIG. 3, once numeric model 28 having outer shell die 30 (as shown in FIG. 4) is generated, a disposable integrated core and shell die can be constructed using any rapid prototyping or additive layer manufacturing process known to those skilled in the art. Some examples of acceptable additive layer manufacturing processes include, but are not limited to, micro-pen deposition, where liquid media is dispensed with precision at the pen tip and then cured; selective laser sintering, where a laser is used to sinter a powder media in precisely controlled locations; laser wire deposition, where a wire feedstock is melted by a laser and then deposited and solidified in precise locations to build the product; fused deposition by extrusion of thin ABS plastic wire in multiple layers to build the product; ink jet deposition, where a plurality of ink jet nozzles deposit die material and supporting material if necessary according to the geometry defined by the numeric model; electron beam melting; laser engineered net shaping (LENS®); direct metal laser sintering; and direct metal deposition.
  • As an example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, a stereolithography (SLA) machine 32 can be used to create the disposable integrated core and shell die 34 (or “disposable die”), which can then be used to fabricate an authentic turbine blade replica as explained herein below. SLA machine 32 may have any conventional configuration and can include a laser 36 mounted to the end of a robotic arm 38 that can be controlled and positioned in 3D space by the numeric controller of the machine that is digitally programmable for controlling the various functions thereof.
  • Any suitable SLA material 40, such as a liquid resin, may be contained in a pool, and a laser beam 42 emitted from laser 36 can be used to locally cure material 40 thereby producing a solidified SLA material 41 and creating disposable die 34. Disposable die 34 can be supported on any suitable fixture in the pool and can be built layer by layer as laser beam 42 is precisely guided over the full configuration of die 34 following the dimensions of numeric model 28 stored in computer 26.
  • If desired, a support material (not shown) comprising a wax or thermoplastic for example, may be deposited concurrently or alternately with the SLA material to provide support to the disposable die during fabrication. Once construction of the disposable die is complete, the supporting material may be removed by melting or dissolution, for example.
  • Numeric model 28 of blade 10 can be used to create disposable die 34 using SLA machine 32 such that disposable die 34 and authentic blade 10 are virtually identical with the exception of material composition. Blade 10 can be formed from any suitable alloy or superalloy metal as is typical for most gas turbine engine applications while disposable die 34 can be fabricated, for example, from any suitable SLA material 40 capable of being cured by laser 36 to produce solidified SLA material 41. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the materials used to make disposable die 34 can vary depending on the method of fabrication.
  • Integrated disposable die 34 can be defined by solidified SLA material 41, for example, and can include a precise external configuration and surfaces for the entire blade as well as the precise internal cooling circuit therein, including any channels and openings desired. As used herein throughout, “integrated” means that the core and shell are coupled together as a unitary structure rather than being independent pieces. FIG. 3 depicts a cross-sectional perspective view of disposable die 34, however, those skilled in the art will understand that disposable die 34 corresponds to the entire blade, as indicated by the dotted lines. The dimensions of disposable core and shell die 34 may vary as desired for reproducing the various features of the blade with the desired accuracy. As will be understood by those skilled in the art, greater accuracy in disposable die 34 requires more data points in numeric model 28, which is limited only by the practical use of the numeric model in controlling SLA machine 32.
  • A cross-section of one embodiment of the resulting disposable core and shell die 34 made from solidified SLA material 41 is shown in FIG. 5. Since solidified SLA material 41 may be a low-strength non-metallic material that lacks the strength of metal, it may be desirable to encapsulate disposable core and shell die 34 to provide additional support thereto. Any suitable method of encapsulation known to those skilled in the art is acceptable for use herein. Conversely, if the solidified SLA material has enough strength to resist the injection pressure of the casting process, additional support may not be necessary.
  • Additionally, at least one through-rod 43, and as shown in FIG. 5, a plurality of through-rods 43, may be utilized to provide support to disposable die 34 and ensure proper alignment between the core and shell during casting. Through-rods 43 may be manufactured from any composition compatible with conventional casting processes, including, but not limited to, quartz or alumina. However, unlike conventional rods used in the art, which typically only touch an outer surface of the die, through-rods 43 herein should be of sufficient length to at least span the width W of disposable die, which can vary with location (see FIG. 5). By allowing the through-rods to penetrate the disposable die, the die can be supported and alignment between the core and shell of the disposable die can be maintained throughout the authentic component replica fabrication process.
  • The diameter of through-rods 43 can also vary. However, in one embodiment, through-rods 43 can have a diameter ranging from about 0.025 inches to about 0.065 inches (about 0.064 cm to about 0.17 cm), and in one embodiment from about 0.040 inches to about 0.060 inches (about 0.10 cm to about 0.15 cm). Moreover, all through-rods 43 can have the same diameter, different diameters, or each through-rod can have a varying diameter along its length.
  • Through-rods 43 can be inserted into disposable die 34 by, for example, pushing the through-rods through holes 47 and/or openings 39. As previously mentioned, openings 39 can be included in the disposable die to support airflow in the authentic blade replica. Holes 47 can be drilled into the disposable die post-fabrication using any conventional drilling tool or alternately, holes 47 can be included in the disposable die during fabrication, similar to openings 39. As shown in FIG. 5, in one embodiment, holes 47 can be positioned to align with openings 39 such that a single through-rod 43 can pass through an opening 39 and holes 47. This configuration may be desired to prevent excess holes in the resulting authentic blade replica that may need to be patched or filled in prior to use, as explained herein below.
  • As shown in FIG. 6, an integrated core and shell mold 44 may be cast inside disposable die 34 by filling the voids therein. Core and shell mold 44 may be cast by injecting under pressure any suitable mold material, which in one embodiment can be a ceramic slurry. Through-rods 43 can help disposable die 34 withstand the injection pressure of the mold material and help ensure integrated mold 44 retains the desired configuration. After injecting the mold material into disposable die 34, the mold material may be cured and solidified using techniques known in the art, such as drying and heating, for example. The result is an integrated core and shell casting mold 44 (or “integrated mold”) having a core portion 49 and a shell portion 50, as shown in FIG. 6. In one embodiment integrated mold 44 may comprise solidified ceramic.
  • Disposable core and shell die 34 may then be removed, leaving integrated core and shell casting mold 44 having through-rods 43 disposed therein, as shown in FIG. 7. The disposable core and shell die may be removed from integrated mold 44 by any suitable method, which can vary depending on the materials of fabrication of the disposable die and integrated mold. Some acceptable methods of removal can include melting, burning or dissolving the disposable die from integrated mold 44. After removing the disposable die, a corresponding void 45 remains in integrated mold 44 that conforms to the precise definition of the metal portions which define turbine blade 10 shown in FIG. 1.
  • Accordingly, an authentic gas turbine component replica, which in one embodiment comprises a blade replica, may then be cast within the integrated core and shell mold using conventional investment casting processes. As used herein, “replica” refers to a substantially identical copy of the authentic component made using the methods described herein. Like the authentic component, the replica is capable of installation and use in a gas turbine engine. During casting, molten metal may be poured into integrated mold 44 to fill by gravity the void 45 (shown in FIG. 7) present within integrated mold 44. Through-rods 43 can remain in place to help maintain proper spacing and alignment between mold core portion 49 and mold shell portion 50. The molten metal may be any suitable material for fabricating gas turbine components, such as alloys and superalloys. The molten metal may then be cooled and solidified in integrated mold 44, as shown in FIG. 8, to form an authentic gas turbine component replica, which in the exemplary embodiment is an authentic turbine blade replica 48.
  • Integrated mold 44 may then be suitably removed from authentic blade replica 48 by breaking or dissolving the generally brittle material of construction. Alternately, if integrated mold 44 is constructed from ceramic, it may be suitably removed from blade replica 48 by chemical leaching. More specifically, in one embodiment, core portion 49, shell portion 50 and through-rods 43 can be removed simultaneously, leaving the authentic blade replica 48, as shown in FIG. 10.
  • In an alternate embodiment, mold shell portion 50 may be removed first, along with any segments of through-rods 43 extending therethrough. Mold shell portion 50 may be removed by any acceptable means, such as mechanical devices. For example, in one embodiment, a hammer may be used to break apart shell portion 50, along with the segments of through-rods 43 contained therein. Once shell portion 50 and through-rod segments 43 contained therein have been removed from authentic blade replica 48 as shown in FIG. 9, mold core portion 49 may be removed along with any remaining segments of through-rods 43 contained therein, leaving authentic blade replica 48. Similar to the shell portion, core portion 49 and remaining through-rods 43 may be removed by any number of methods, including dissolution or chemical leaching.
  • The resulting blade replica 48 may then undergo typical post-casting processes, such as drilling rows of cooling holes through the sidewalls thereof, or patching any unneeded holes remaining after removal of the through-rods. The end result is the production of an authentic gas turbine component replica 46, such as authentic blade replica 48 shown in FIG. 9. As previously described, authentic blade replica 48 can be substantially identical to authentic blade 10 shown in FIG. 1.
  • The previously described methods can reduce the use of a wax die, as well as the corresponding waxing and de-waxing process. This can save both time and expense. Additionally, and as previously mentioned, the integrated core and shell mold can be used to fabricate any number of component designs, including single-wall and multi-wall airfoils, which can often times be too complex for current casting methods. Moreover, the integrated core and shell mold provides the manufacturer with more control in wall thickness which results in the production of more accurately fabricated components. Also, the use of through rods allows a single rod to control multiple wall thicknesses simultaneously. Other benefits will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the previous detailed description.
  • This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are intended to be within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.

Claims (20)

1. A method comprising:
providing an integrated disposable core and shell die of an authentic gas turbine component;
inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die;
casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die;
removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the at least one through-rod disposed therein;
casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold; and
removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.
2. The method of claim 1 comprising fabricating the integrated disposable core and shell die from a numeric model using stereolithography.
3. The method of claim 1 comprising fabricating the integrated disposable core and shell die using an additive layer manufacturing process selected from the group consisting of micro-pen deposition, selective laser sintering, laser wire deposition, fused deposition, ink jet deposition, electron beam melting, laser engineered net shaping, direct metal laser sintering, direct metal deposition and combinations thereof.
4. The method of claim 1 comprising fabricating the integrated core and shell casting mold from a ceramic slurry and curing the ceramic slurry to produce an integrated solidified ceramic core and shell casting mold.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein removing the integrated disposable core and shell die comprises a method selected from the group consisting of melting, burning, dissolving, and combinations thereof, the integrated disposable core and shell die.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein removing the integrated core and shell casting mold comprises a method selected from the group consisting of breaking, dissolving, leaching, and combinations thereof, the solidified ceramic core and shell casting mold from about the authentic gas turbine component replica.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one through-rod comprises quartz or alumina.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein the authentic gas turbine component is a component having a substantially hollow interior selected from the group consisting of turbine blades, turbine nozzles, and shrouds.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the substantially hollow interior comprises at least one internal channel.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one through-rod traverses through at least one opening in the integrated disposable core and shell die.
11. The method of claim 1 comprising inserting a plurality of through-rods through the integrated disposable core and shell die.
12. A method comprising:
generating a numeric model of an authentic gas turbine component, the numeric model having an outer shell die disposed thereabout;
fabricating an integrated disposable core and shell die of the authentic gas turbine component;
inserting at least one through-rod through the integrated disposable core and shell die;
casting an integrated core and shell mold inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die;
removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the at least one through-rod disposed therein;
casting an authentic gas turbine component replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold; and
removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the at least one through-rod to obtain the authentic gas turbine component replica.
13. The method of claim 12 comprising fabricating the integrated disposable core and shell die using an additive layer manufacturing process selected from the group consisting of micro-pen deposition, selective laser sintering, laser wire deposition, fused deposition, ink jet deposition, electron beam melting, laser engineered net shaping, direct metal laser sintering, direct metal deposition and combinations thereof.
14. The method of claim 12 comprising fabricating the integrated core and shell casting mold from a ceramic slurry and curing the ceramic slurry to produce an integrated solidified ceramic core and shell casting mold.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein removing the integrated disposable core and shell die comprises a method selected from the group consisting of melting, burning, dissolving, and combinations thereof, the integrated core and shell die.
16. The method of claim 12 wherein removing the integrated core and shell casting mold comprises a method selected from the group consisting of breaking, dissolving, leaching, and combinations thereof, the integrated solidified ceramic core and shell casting mold from about the authentic gas turbine component replica.
17. The method of claim 12 wherein the authentic gas turbine component is a component having a substantially hollow interior selected from the group consisting of turbine blades, turbine nozzles, and shrouds.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein the substantially hollow interior comprises at least one internal channel.
19. A method comprising:
providing a numeric model of an authentic airfoil having a plurality of internal channels, the numeric model generated using computer aided design and having an outer shell disposed thereabout;
fabricating an integrated disposable core and shell die of the numeric model of the authentic airfoil using an additive layer manufacturing process selected from the group consisting of micro-pen deposition, selective laser sintering, laser wire deposition, fused deposition, ink jet deposition, electron beam melting, laser engineered net shaping, direct metal laser sintering, direct metal deposition and combinations thereof,
inserting a plurality of through-rods through the integrated disposable core and shell die;
casting an integrated core and shell mold comprising a ceramic slurry inside of the integrated disposable core and shell die;
curing the ceramic slurry to produce an integrated core and shell casting mold comprising a solidified ceramic;
removing the integrated disposable core and shell die to obtain the integrated core and shell casting mold having the plurality of through-rods disposed therein;
casting an authentic airfoil replica using the integrated core and shell casting mold; and
removing the integrated core and shell casting mold and the plurality of through-rods to obtain the authentic airfoil replica.
20. The method of claim 19 wherein the authentic airfoil replica is a component having a substantially hollow interior selected from the group consisting of turbine blades, turbine nozzles, and shrouds.
US11/767,637 2007-06-25 2007-06-25 Methods for fabricating gas turbine components using an integrated disposable core and shell die Abandoned US20100025001A1 (en)

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