As you might imagine, turbine blades are subjected to very strenuous environments inside a turbine, especially when it’s moving something as magnificently large like a jet engine. The blades face high stresses, high levels of vibration, and extremely high temperatures.
How the blades cool and resist failure is due in no small part to Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM). EDMs create precise microscopic holes in machined parts using an electrical discharge.
In the case of jet turbine blades, drilling microscopic holes in the edges of the blades allows them to cool as they spin, thereby enabling them to spin at higher speeds and temperatures than would normally be possible.
It’s a perfect example of how little details can make a BIG difference.
Cooling holes aren’t the only use for small hole EDM technology though. Other uses for this unique process include applications such as taps, drill bits, fuel system components and micro spinnerets.
P.S. Rolls Royce has an informative (and interactive) video called Journey through a jet engine.