In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%
Researchers at University West in Sweden have started using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. 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.
To increase the service life of aircraft engines, a heat-insulating surface layer is sprayed on top of the metal components. Thanks to this extra layer, 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.
– “The base is a ceramic powder, but we have also tested adding plastic to generate pores that make the material more elastic,” says Nicholas Curry, who has just presented his doctoral thesis on the subject.
Great stress on the material
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 suspension plasma spray application.
Shock tests simulate temperature changes
Dr Curry and his colleagues have since tested the new layer thousands of times in what are known as “thermal shock tests” to simulate the temperature changes in an aircraft engine. It has turned out that the new coating layer lasts at least three times as long as a conventional layer while it has low heat conduction abilities.
– “An aircraft motor that lasts longer does not need to undergo expensive, time-consuming “service” as often; this saves the aircraft industry money. The new technology is also significantly cheaper than the conventional technology, which means that more businesses will be able to purchase the equipment.
The Latest on: Nanoparticle based coating
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