Gas turbine engines are generally optimized to operate at nearly a fixed speed with fixed blade geometries for the design operating condition. When the operating condition of the engine changes, the flow incidence angles may not be optimum with the blade geometry resulting in reduced off-design performance. Articulating the pitch angle of turbine blades in coordination with adjustable nozzle vanes can improve performance by maintaining flow incidence angles within the optimum range at all operating conditions of a gas turbine engine. Maintaining flow incidence angles within the optimum range can prevent the likelihood of flow separation in the blade passage and also reduce the thermal stresses developed due to aerothermal loads for variable speed gas turbine engine applications. U.S. Army Research Laboratory has partnered with University of California San Diego and Iowa State University Collaborators to conduct high fidelity stator-rotor interaction analysis for evaluating the aerodynamic efficiency benefits of articulating turbine blade concept. The flow patterns are compared between the baseline fixed geometry blades and articulating conceptual blades. The computational fluid dynamics studies were performed using a stabilized finite element method developed by the Iowa State University and University of California San Diego researchers. The results from the simulations together with viable smart material based technologies for turbine blade actuations are presented in this paper.

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