Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

HI-POTENTIAL Result In Brief

Project reference: 278438
Funded under: FP7-JTI
Country: France

Innovation forges titanium aluminide blades

Extensive use of composites has received a lot of attention for application in aircraft engines. EU-funded researchers made an important breakthrough and demonstrated the use of titanium aluminides for low-pressure turbine blades.
Innovation forges titanium aluminide blades
Gamma titanium aluminide (γ-TiAl) was found to be suitable for aerospace applications due to its low density and high strength at elevated temperatures. However, its applications were limited due to difficulties in machining that arise from its inherently brittle nature.

Research carried out previously had focused on increasing the room-temperature ductility of the material by alloying. However, EU-funded researchers proposed close-die forging for the production of low-pressure turbine blades made of γ-TiAl for turbofan aircraft engines.

During the close-die forging process, dies cover the workpiece, which is approximately the size of the final forged product. The shape of the forging is incorporated in the dies as a negative image. As the two dies move towards each other, the impact on the raw material gives it the desired forged form.

Detailed investigation of the process parameters within the HI-POTENTIAL (Highly innovative isothermal forging of gamma TiAl alloy for LPT blades) project lent strong evidence to the idea. Forging parameters were first investigated in the laboratory. Tests were also conducted at the industrial level.

After forging, heat treatment would ensure the required microstructure for low-pressure turbine blades. The microstructure after deformation and heat treatment were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy in addition to its mechanical properties. The optimal manufacturing route for blade forging was defined on this basis.

Unlike most major manufacturers, the HI-POTENTIAL team is ready to introduce the new γ-TiAl based technology for geared turbofan engines. Close cooperation with aero-engine manufacturers was instrumental in qualifying it for low-pressure turbine blades.

The introduction of forged blades using γ-TiAl promises to increase the performance of aero-engines and subsequently, their fuel efficiency while reducing the environmental impact of aviation. HI-POTENTIAL technology will also aid the European industry in meeting today's challenges in the aerospace market.

Related information

Keywords

Low-pressure turbine blades, gamma titanium aluminide, close-die forging, turbofan aircraft engine, heat treatment
Record Number: 181086 / Last updated on: 2016-04-21
Domain: Industrial Technologies