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Accurate high-temperature engine aero-thermal measurements for gas turbine life otimisation, performance and condition monitoring

Tags: Air


Instrumentation is a key generic technology in the gas turbine industry that influences the development cost, efficiency and competitiveness of gas turbine products.

The very hostile gas turbine environment presents unique challenges for instrumentation. The drive to greater efficiency is steadily raising the temperatures and pressures in engines, and this further increases the challenge to the instrumentation. The cross sector impact of shortfalls in current instrumentation capability was assessed by the Fifth Framework Programme’s European virtual institute for gas turbine instrumentation (EVI-GTI) thematic network. EVI-GTI ( identified three areas where the lack of adequate instrumentation capability is perceived to be either holding back gas turbine engine development, or leading to increased uncertainty in design methods and component life prediction:

  • Measurement of gas temperature, pressure, flow and blade tip clearances at very high temperatures (>1000°C);
  • Measurement of component temperatures in the hottest parts of the engine;
  • Measurement of component vibration on very hot components.


The objectives of HEATTOP are:

  • Reduced measurement uncertainty for design validation, enabling improved engine performance in new products;
  • Instruments for validation of design in parts of engines which are inaccessible with current state-of-the-art instruments;
  • Reduced engine development costs through more direct measurements of key component performance, reducing the amount of special testing required;
  • Reduced cost of product ownership through reduced component life prediction uncertainty and therefore reduced parts consumption, and improved product performance giving reduced fuel burn;
  • Sensors enabling better engine control and monitoring;
  • Validation of all technology developments within the project in representative environments to provide instruments suitable for utilisation within three years.

To achieve these objectives within a period of three years, the work programme will develop measurement technologies in four areas:

  • Quantum step of thermocouple technology for use at very high temperatures;
  • Advanced, highly accurate, high temperature, surface temperature measurements;
  • Advanced gas path aerodynamic measurements for high temperatures;
  • Clearance measurements at high temperatures for long-term monitoring.

Description of work

There are nine Work Packages in total: four technical Work Packages for sensor development (as listed above) and two Work Packages for sensor validation in test facilities. The other Work Packages are dedicated to definitions of targets, coordination and project management, and dissemination of results.

The four technical Work Packages will be performed in parallel, followed by tests in rigs and production engines. Although there will be sensor development work in each of them, they have been set up according to the technical problem to be solved rather than according to the technology used for the solution. This will guarantee that the focus is on the solution of the problem rather than on the technology only.

Coordination and project management will be led by Siemens Power Generation.

The definitions will be led by the European leaders in aero engines to make sure that the final specifications will meet the aero engine manufacturers’ needs.

The four technical Work Packages are led by engine OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) or by experienced industries or research institutes. Work packages, tasks and sub-tasks have been chosen and distributed amongst the partners in such a way that all consortium work is complementary rather than competitive.

The Work Packages for validation of sensors in test vehicles will verify if the idea behind the development works out. If the prototype rig test of a technology gives promising results, the technology will go into the final engine tests which will be done on production aircraft engines and power gas turbines.


The expected results are:

  • Understanding the impact of the exposure of new sensor technologies to very hostile environments, which have been previously used in laboratory conditions only;
  • Reports on rig and engine tests, validating the technology readiness of the newly developed measurement capabilities;
  • Sensor data from in-engine operation including the uncertainty analysis of the results;
  • OEMs will use sensors for developing new improved products, and monitoring and control applications to reduce cost of ownership of new products;
  • Vendors (SMEs, instrumentation supply chain) will ensure a rapid commercial exploitation of results by producing and selling sensors to the gas turbine OEMs;
  • Academia will publish knowledge of new technologies to stimulate further advances in the field;
  • Dissemination of information on technology developments in sensing technology for harsh environments through EVI-GTI open conferences and meetings.