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Improving the efficiency of turbine blades

Turbine engines work more efficiently at higher temperatures, but the increased heat can cause cracks to develop from freckles. This project looked for ways of preventing freckles forming.
Improving the efficiency of turbine blades
Turbine engines are highly efficient energy conversion devices, useful both in aviation and in power generation.

A turbine produces continuous power by using a fast-moving flow of water, gas, air, steam or other fluid to make a wheel or rotor revolve.

Generally, the higher the working temperature, the more energy is yielded from the fuel.Nickel-based superalloys are ideal for use in turbine blades, but higher temperatures cause increasing numbers of freckles to form during production on the surface of certain turbine blades .

Freckles are chains of grains that are lying in the wrong direction, and are sites where tiny cracks and other defects can begin to form, reducing the quality of the blades.

.On a project called 'Exploring the three-dimensional nanoscale space around defects in Ni-based superalloys for aircraft applications employing atom-probe tomography' (LEAP TOMOGRAPHY), the researchers T studied the superalloy’s crystallography, shape and chemical composition . They studied different four regions of interest in the superalloysand, for the first time, they identified and quantified 11 elements in their vicinity, including nickel, aluminium, chromium, cobalt and tantalum.

Using computational techniques to simulate heat transfer, they established that the differences between the densities in the regions caused freckle formation.Results from the project will aid the aviation industry to predict and control the formation of freckles in nickel-based superalloys.

In turn, this should help to make turbine engines more efficient, and therefore save energy and production costs.

Related information

Keywords

Freckles, defects, nickel-based superalloys, turbine blades, aviation, aircraft
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