Additive Manufacturing of Oxidation-Resistant Gradient Refractory Composites
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology will develop a new additive manufacturing (AM) process, capable of producing refractory composite materials for use in high-temperature, oxidation-resistant turbine blades and other demanding energy-conversion applications. The AM process will incorporate hardware and software to establish uniform, high-quality refractory materials that are traditionally prone to micro-cracking and oxidation during AM, thereby establishing the required mechanical properties and oxidation resistance of a target alloy. The project will also incorporate a high-throughput approach, enabled by the local definition of material composition, to span potential alloy compositions that meet the demanding material requirements of the program. In synergy with materials development and evaluation, the team’s AM process and system will ultimately enable digital production of representative turbine blade geometries with low surface roughness and high-precision, complex internal cooling channels.
Combining development of new ultrahigh temperature materials with compatible coatings and manufacturing technologies has the potential to increase gas turbine efficiency up to 7%, which will significantly reduce wasted energy and carbon emissions.