Laser technologies application specifics while plate heat exchangers developing for small-size gas turbine engines

Aeronautical and Space-Rocket Engineering

Thermal engines, electric propulsion and power plants for flying vehicles


Remchukov S. S.*, Lebedinskii R. N.**

Central Institute of Aviation Motors named after P.I. Baranov, CIAM, 2, Aviamotornaya str., Moscow, 111116, Russia



Effectiveness increasing is one the basic trends of small-size gas-turbine engines (SGTE) refinement. One of the most affordable and effective techniques for SGTE gain performance is heat regeneration application [13, 19]. In this case, heat exchanger affects significantly the engine effectiveness.

In the event of a plate heat exchanger application in the SGTE of a complex cycle, the heat exchanging surface geometry, ensuring the best heat exchange efficiency, is being selected individually for each task [7, 17]. In this respect, the heat exchanger design technique, allowing obtaining the best thermal and hydraulic characteristics [15], is of primary importance.

Despite heat exchangers designing and calculating complexity, manufacturing stage causes most difficulties while the product creation. The key stages of heat exchanger manufacturing imply dealing with thin-walled and various-thickness parts made of heat-resistant steels.

Analysis of the existing manufacturing technologies has shown that the most effective way of working with such parts is laser cutting and welding on a low-power installation [8]. To perform individual operations on a laser installation, a set of special technological equipment that allows the parts positioning is required [16].

Parts cutting and welding operations in the heat exchanger manufacturing process were performed with low-power “Bulat HTS Portal-300” laser plant with numerical control [18]. The installation low power (up to 300 Watts) allows working with thin details Experimental study of the of the cutting mode effect on the parts edges quality, performed at a low-power laser installation with numerical control, revealed a number of features. The factors exercising the maximal impact on the cut quality are the air supply pressure, pulse energy, frequency, and cutting speed. Modes, ensuring the high quality of laser cutting, were obtained while the experimental heat exchanger manufacturing process.

Specifics of laser welding application on a low-power machine tool with numerical control while thin-walled and various-thickness parts connecting were studied. The pulse shape and spot size are the most important factors while welding modes selection to obtain qualitative joint. The pulse shape variation allows the most rational distribution of energy flow over the time of the thermal exposure. Laser welding modes, ensuring the qualitative pressure-proof weld seam, were obtained in the process of thin-walled and various-thickness parts connection.

While an experimental heat exchanger fabrication it was found that for laser cutting and high-level welding operations performing ensuring, special technological rigging application, ensuring positioning of the machined parts, was necessary.

Experimental heat exchanger was manufactured employing laser technology on a low-power laser installation with numerical control. The heat exchanger experimental studies confirmed the strength and tightness of the welded joints, as well as demonstrated a reliable match of the calculated and experimental characteristics.


small-size gas turbine engine (GTE), plate heat exchanger, laser technologies


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