Single Crystal Jet Engine Turbine Blade

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Single Crystal Jet Engine Turbine Blade
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Jet engine turbine blades need to be extremely durable to withstand the punishment they receive during operation of the engine. Along with the massive mechanical loadings they experience, they need to withstand extremely high temperatures. Needless to say, failure of such a part in an aircraft could be catastrophic. This turbine blade has two distinguishing material features. Firstly, it is made of a superalloy, which has superior mechanical strength and creep resistance at high temperatures, good corrosion and oxidation resistance compared to normal metals and alloys. Secondly, it is formed out of a single metal crystal, a structure which gives the blade outstanding strength at high temperatures. Most bulk metals are not one big crystal: they are composed of many tiny crystallites called grains. The boundaries between these grains generally increase the strength of a metal, however at high temperatures they provide a way for the metal to deform over time (called creep). Creating a turbine blade as a single crystal means it does not have any grain boundaries, and it is therefore intrinsically stronger at high temperatures than polycrystalline metals. It is this property that has allowed turbine jet engines to be operated reliably at very high temperatures which increases the efficiency and safety of the engine. Modern turbine jet engines are more efficient engines on the planet.

Sample ID: 316


Donated by
Imperial College London

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