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Researchers Identify Ceramic Materials for Metal Coatings in Gas Turbines

Published on 2024-03-18. Edited By : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Science-based Formulation    

Researchers Ceramic Materials Metal Coatings Gas Turbines Skoltech researchers identify ceramic materials for metal coatings to boost gas turbine efficiency. If further experimental tests prove successful, the coatings will enable power plants to produce more electricity and jet planes to consume less fuel.

Thermal Barrier Coatings Offers Greater Efficiency

Thermal barrier coatings are used to protect turbine blades at power plants and in jet engines. The blades themselves are made of nickel-based superalloys. These offer a great combination of high-temperature strength, toughness, and resistance to degradation. However, as things get really hot, the superalloy softens and may even melt.

Protective coatings make it possible to operate turbines at higher temperatures without compromising their integrity. And in this case, higher temperature means greater efficiency.

Thermal barrier coatings are nowadays made of yttria-stabilized zirconia, but if a material with better properties were used instead, that would allow you to get more useful power out of the turbine,” said professor Artem R. Oganov, study co-author and head of Material Discovery Laboratory at Skoltech.

To find such materials, you first have to come up with candidates whose properties you predict computationally. We have tested a range of methods and determined the best of them for calculating the relevant material properties, particularly thermal conductivity. In the paper, we list some promising candidates, and we’ll keep on looking,” added Oganov.

Requirement for Very Low-thermal Conductivity Material

Material for thermal barrier coatings has to meet several requirements. It must have a very high melting point and a very low thermal conductivity. The latter property is particularly hard to compute because it depends on the intricate ‘anharmonic’ effects in crystals. Also, when heated, the material should expand at about the same rate as the superalloy, or else it will flake off the surface.

The material should not undergo any phase transitions between room temperature and the operating temperature of the turbine, which would cause the coating to crack. It should also withstand the effects of dust particles and oxygen at high temperatures and prevent oxygen ions from reaching the underlying metal and oxidizing it.

While we calculated the other properties, the crux of the problem is predicting thermal conductivity. We showed such predictions are computationally feasible and reasonably accurate with homogeneous nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations,” said Majid Zeraati, study co-author and PhD student at Skoltech.

This proves somewhat unexpected, as such simulations involve a massive amount of computations and extensive statistics, resulting in high computational complexity. Nevertheless, we managed to simplify the method by supplementing it with machine learning potentials. The interactions between the atoms were predicted using artificial intelligence, rather than being directly calculated,” added Zeraati.

Source: Skoltech

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