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Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Industrial coatings

Nano-coating may reduce fuel consumption of aircraft engines

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Researchers have started using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating coating that protects aircraft engines from heat.

No heat in aircrafts due to a coating

Source: Heiko Stahl

No heat in aircrafts due to a coating

Source: Heiko Stahl

In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%. This is something that interests the aircraft industry to a very great degree, and the hope is that motors with the new layers will be in production within two years.

Temperature can be raised

To increase the service life of aircraft engines, a heat-insulating surface layer is sprayed on top of the metal components. Thanks to this thermal barrier coating, the engine is shielded from heat. The temperature can also be raised, which leads to increased efficiency, reduced emissions, and decreased fuel consumption. The goal of the University West research group is to be able to control the structure of the surface layer in order to increase its service life and insulating capability. They have used different materials in their work.

Great stress on the material

The base is a ceramic powder, but they have also tested adding plastic to generate pores that make the material more elastic. The ceramic layer is subjected to great stress when the enormous changes in temperature make the material alternately expand and contract. Making the layer elastic is therefore important. Over the last few years, the researchers have focused on further refining the microstructure, all so that the layer will be of interest for the industry to use. "We have tested the use of a layer that is formed from nanoparticles. The particles are so fine that we aren't able to spray the powder directly onto a surface. Instead, we first mix the powder with a liquid that is then sprayed. This is called thermal spray application” says Nicholas Curry, who has just presented his doctoral thesis on the subject.

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