Skoltech researchers discovered ceramic materials for gas turbine coatings to enhance power generation and fuel efficiency

Researchers at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) have recently reported they have identified promising ceramic materials for metal coatings that allow gas turbines to get hotter and produce more power. According to Skoltech, if further tests prove successful, the coatings will enable power plants to produce more electricity and jet planes to consume less fuel.
  • Turbine Blades Protection: Thermal barrier coatings are essential for protecting turbine blades in power plants and jet engines.
  • Blade Material: These blades are made of nickel-based superalloys, known for handling high temperatures and resisting degradation.
  • Limitation at Extreme Heat: When exposed to very high temperatures, these superalloys can soften or melt.
  • Current Coating Material: The standard coating material used is yttria-stabilized zirconia.
  • Search for Better Materials: Researchers are looking for materials with superior properties to improve turbine performance.
  • Computational Predictions: The process involves predicting the properties of potential materials using computational methods.
  • Thermal Conductivity: A key focus is on finding materials with low thermal conductivity, essential for effective thermal barrier coatings.
  • Material Compatibility: The new material must expand at a similar rate to the superalloy to avoid flaking and must remain stable across a range of temperatures.
  • Durability Requirements: It should resist high-temperature dust and oxygen effects and prevent oxygen ions from oxidizing the underlying metal.
  • Promising New Materials: The study has identified several potential replacements, like yttrium niobate and certain perovskite structures, with ongoing research to find the best options.

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