Facility for Evaluating High Temperature Oxidation and Mechanical Properties

Default ARPA-E Project Image

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Project Term:
03/19/2021 - 09/18/2024

Technology Description:

Current Ni-based alloys used in turbine blade applications operate at 1100°C. This project seeks to develop two classes (Ni) alloys that can continuously operate at 1300°C with coatings, enabling gas turbine inlets of 1800°C or higher. Temperature increases can be achieved through the use of refractory alloys, including molybdenum, niobium, tungsten, and tantalum. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will provide data on alloys and coatings developed by ULTIMATE teams. ORNL will supply technical performance target data, including room temperature and 1300°C mechanical properties, post-exposure mechanical properties for coatings, and physical properties including thermal expansion and thermal conductivity. Additionally, ORNL will provide state-of-the-art characterization of as-received and post-test microstructure of alloys and coatings to assist in interpreting results. Facilities include high temperature furnaces for 1700°C oxidation exposures and frames for mechanical properties testing of creep (deformation) and tensile properties using small- or full-scale specimens. ORNL aims to coordinate with ULTIMATE teams to deliver data within 4 weeks of receipt of specimens for most of the target experiments.

Potential Impact:

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.


Coal-fired and nuclear-powered plant electricity generation is uneconomical, unsafe, outdated, and/or contributes to significant CO2 emissions. Increasing gas turbine efficiency is critical to ensuring that plants can effectively deploy their capacity to the grid, increasing energy security.


Improving gas turbine efficiency can significantly reduce carbon emissions from air travel, which represents 2% of all global carbon emissions.


By 2050, a 7% efficiency improvement in the natural gas turbines used for U.S. electricity generation could save up to 15-16 quads of energy; in civilian aircraft turbines, 3-4 quads of energy could be saved for U.S. air travel.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Philseok Kim
Project Contact:
Dr. Bruce Pint
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

Related Projects

Release Date: