Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fake diamonds help jet engines take the heat

19.03.2008
Ohio State University engineers are developing a technology to coat jet engine turbine blades with zirconium dioxide -- commonly called zirconia, the stuff of synthetic diamonds -- to combat high-temperature corrosion.

The zirconia chemically converts sand and other corrosive particles that build up on the blade into a new, protective outer coating. In effect, the surface of the engine blade constantly renews itself.

Ultimately, the technology could enable manufacturers to use new kinds of heat-resistant materials in engine blades, so that engines will be able to run hotter and more efficiently.

Nitin Padture, professor of materials science and engineering at Ohio State, said that he had military aircraft in mind when he began the project. He was then a professor at the University of Connecticut.

“In the desert, sand is sucked into the engines during takeoffs and landings, and then you have dust storms,” he said. “But even commercial aircraft and power turbines encounter small bits of sand or other particles, and those particles damage turbine blades.”

Jet engines operate at thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, and blades in the most advanced engines are coated with a thin layer of temperature-resistant, thermally-insulating ceramic to protect the metal blades. The coating -- referred to as a thermal-barrier coating -- is designed like an accordion to expand and contract with the metal.

The problem: When sand hits the hot engine blade it melts -- and becomes glass.

“Molten glass is one of the nastiest substances around. It will dissolve anything,” Padture said.

The hot glass chews into the ceramic coating. But the real damage happens after the engine cools, and the glass solidifies into an inflexible glaze on top of the ceramic. When the engine heats up again and the metal blades expand, the ceramic coating can’t expand, because the glaze has locked it in place. The ceramic breaks off, shortening the life of the engine blades.

In a recent issue of the journal Acta Materialia, Padture and his colleagues described how the new coating forces the glass to absorb chemicals that will convert it into a harmless -- and even helpful -- ceramic.

The key, Padture said, is that the coating contains aluminum and titanium atoms hidden inside zirconia crystals. When the glass consumes the zirconia, it also consumes the aluminum and titanium. Once the glass accumulates enough of these elements, it changes from a molten material into a stable crystal, and it stops eating the ceramic.

“The glass literally becomes a new ceramic coating on top of the old one. Then, when new glass comes in, the same thing will happen again. It’s like it’s constantly renewing the coating on the surface of the turbine,” Padture said.

Padture’s former university has applied for a patent on the technique that he devised for embedding the aluminum and titanium into the zirconia. He’s partnering with Inframat Corp., a nanotechnology company in Connecticut, to further develop the technology.

Padture stressed that the technology is in its infancy. He has yet to apply the coatings to complex shapes, and cost is a barrier as well: the process is energy-consuming.

But if that cost eventually came down and the technology matured, the payoff could be hotter engines that burn fuel more efficiently and create less pollution. Manufacturers would be able to use more sophisticated ceramics that boost the heat-resistance of engines. Eventually, technology could go beyond aircraft and power-generator turbines and extend to automobiles as well, Padture said.

His coauthors on the Acta Materialia paper included Ohio State doctoral student Aysegul Aygun, who is doing this work for her dissertation; former postdoctoral researcher Alexander Vasiliev, who is now at the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Xinqing Ma, a scientist at Inframat Corp.

This research was funded by the Office of Naval Research and Naval Air Systems Command.

Nitin Padture | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells
11.12.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires
07.12.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>