Inspecting Gas Turbines Used for Power Generation

Resolve Optics has provided a leading supplier to the power generation industry with a custom high-temperature Short Wavelength Infrared (SWIR) endoscopic viewing system to allow the inspection of gas turbine blades during operation.

A gas turbine installation.

A gas turbine installation. Image Credit: Resolve Optics

Importance of Gas Turbines for Generating Power

Gas turbines are now one of the most commonly utilized power-generating technologies. A type of internal combustion engine, gas turbines involve the burning of a combination of air and fuel, which creates hot gases that rotate turbines to generate power.

The creation of hot gases throughout fuel combustion rather than the fuel itself gives gas turbines their name. Gas turbines can utilize different fuels, such as synthetic fuels, natural gas, and fuel oils.

Inspecting Gas Turbine Operation 

To allow for inspection throughout the operation of the gas turbine, the SWIR endoscope was developed to be able to cope with severe vibration and  to operate up to 950 °C and 150 PSI pressure at the tip of the probe.

SWIR endoscope designed by Resolve Optics

SWIR endoscope designed by Resolve Optics. Image Credit: Resolve Optics

To counter the negative influences of high pressure and temperature, Resolve Optics produced an exclusive design that enabled cool air to be introduced at high pressure in the center section of the endoscope.

This innovation meant that the prism at the tip of the endoscope could be cooled to less than 200 °C and the positive pressure supplied an adequate airflow to maintain the cleanliness of the prism.

Heat breaks were specially designed into the body so that the endoscope’s camera end was maintained at less than 50 °C to stop the endoscope from conducting heat from its tip through to the connected camera.

One of the most complicated elements in the design of the SWIR endoscope was to make sure that the glass features were retained in a secure manner.

If the clamp rings or elements were to become loose, the amount of vibration would quickly degrade the endoscopic components producing metal powder and glass debris that would reduce the image quality.

This challenge was solved by using spring retainers created from materials that were carefully selected, with an expansion rate that would negate the variations in expansion between the metal housing and the glass.

Solutions from Resolve Optics

Resolve Optics Ltd is a dynamic and knowledgeable organization that concentrates on producing innovative designs, and manufactures production quantities of optical systems and lenses on schedule and to the stringent target price and quality standards.

The company has the proven and exclusive ability to create small batches of high-performance, mounted lens systems with the same appearance, quality, and feel of the greatest professional broadcast TV and photographic lenses.

Inspecting Gas Turbines

Image Credit: Resolve Optics


Resolve Optics’ continual development and world-wide reputation is established on a strong track record of delivering projects effectively, manufacturing production quantities of optical products and lenses to schedule, and attaining the desired target price and quality.

To gain more information on Resolve Optics’ bespoke optical systems capable of withstanding difficult operating environments (pressure, vibration, or temperature), please contact the team.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Resolve Optics Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Resolve Optics Ltd.


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