The continuing development of industrial gas turbines is resulting in machines of increasing power and efficiency. The need to continue this trend is focusing attention on minimizing all loss mechanisms within the machine, including those associated with turbine blade tip clearance.

In order to study tip clearance in the turbine, real time measurement is required of clearance between turbine blades and the casing in which they run. This measurement is not routinely performed, due to the harsh nature of the turbine environment. On those occasions when turbine tip clearance is measured, it is typically in development vehicles, often using cooled probes that are somewhat unsuitable for use in production gas turbines.

In this paper a program of work is reported that was undertaken with the purpose of identifying a promising turbine tip clearance measurement system that used the capacitive gap measurement technique. Issues surrounding the application of three systems to the turbine section of a GE MS6001FA gas turbine are identified and reported. Performance of the three evaluated systems is analyzed.

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