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Developments in advanced high temperature disc and blade materials for aero-engine gas turbine applications

By S. Everitt


The research carried out as part of this EngD is aimed at understanding the high temperature materials used in modern gas turbine applications and providing QinetiQ with the information required to assess component performance in new propulsion systems. Performance gains are achieved through increased turbine gas temperatures which lead to hotter turbine disc rims and blades. The work has focussed on two key areas: (1) Disc Alloy Assessment of High Temperature Properties; and (2) Thermal Barrier Coating Life Assessment; which are drawn together by the overarching theme of the EngD: Lifing of Critical Components in Gas Turbine Engines.<br/><br/>Performance of sub-solvus heat treated N18 alloy in the temperature range of 650°C to 725°C has been examined via monotonic and cyclically stabilised tensile, creep and strain controlled low cycle fatigue (LCF) tests including LCF behaviour in the presence of a stress concentration under load-control. Crack propagation studies have been undertaken on N18 and a particular super-solvus heat treatment variant of the alloy LSHR at the same temperatures, in air and vacuum with 1s and 20s dwell times. Comparisons between the results of this testing and microstructural characterisation with RR1000, UDIMET® 720 Low Interstitial (U720Li) and a large grain variant of U720Li have been carried out. In all alloys, strength is linked to a combination of ?' content and grain size as well as slow diffusing atoms in solid solution. High temperature strength improves creep performance which is also dependent on grain size and grain boundary character.<br/><br/>Fatigue testing revealed that N18 had the most transgranular crack propagation with a good resistance to intergranular failure modes, with U720Li the most intergranular. Under vacuum conditions transgranular failure modes are evident to higher temperature and ?K, with LSHR failing almost completely by intergranular crack propagation in air. For N18 significant cyclic softening occurs at 725°C with LCF initiation occurring at pores and oxidised particles. An apparent activation energy technique was used to provide further insights into the failure modes of these alloys, this indicating that, for N18 with 1s dwell, changes in fatigue crack growth rates were attributed to static properties and for LSHR, with 20s dwell in air, that changes were attributed to the detrimental synergistic combination of creep and oxidation at 725°C. Microchemistry at grain boundaries, especially M23C6 carbides, plays an important role in these alloys.<br/><br/>Failure mechanisms within a thermal barrier coating (TBC) system consisting of a CMSX4 substrate, PtAl bond coat, thermally grown oxide (TGO) layer and a top coat applied using electron beam physical vapour deposition have been considered. TGO growth has been quantified under isothermal, two stage temperature and thermal cyclic exposures. An Arrhenius relation was used to describe the TGO growth and produce an isothermal TGO growth model. The output from this was used in the QinetiQ TBC Lifing Model. Thermo-mechanical fatigue test methods were also developed including a novel thermocouple placement permitting substrate temperature to be monitored without disturbing the top coat such that the QinetiQ TBC Lifing Model could be validated.<br/><br/>The importance of material, system specific knowledge and performance data with respect to a particular design space for critical components in gas turbine engines has been highlighted. Data and knowledge regarding N18, LSHR and TBC systems has been added to the QinetiQ’s databank enhancing their capability for providing independent advice regarding high temperature materials particularly in new gas turbine engines

Topics: TL
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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