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Home » News » SBIR Award : Thermal-Barrier Coatings (TBCs) with Improved Efficiency, Lifetime and Smart Sensors

SBIR Award : Thermal-Barrier Coatings (TBCs) with Improved Efficiency, Lifetime and Smart Sensors

3/09/09

We propose to develop a revolutionary technological innovation that will significantly increase the efficiency, lifetime and reliability of gas-turbine engines. Despite the tremendous improvements in coating technologies to enable huge increases in operational temperatures, continued advances using conventional, purely materials-science approaches have resulted in diminishing marginal returns in the last 25 years. The problem is that the turbine blades heat up as a result of radiative and conductive heat transport. Using MEMS-fabrication methods, we will develop a technique to coat the blades with Bragg reflectors, tailored to the spectrum of the radiation, that will decrease the thermal radiation from the surface to the turbine blades tenfold, thereby providing the means to (1) increase turbine-blade lifetime; and (2) attain considerably higher operating efficiencies by operating the engines at significantly higher temperatures. In our baseline Phase II program we will (1) demonstrate an optimal system-fabricated utilizing MEMS technology-that is designed to minimize radiative heat transport; and (2) demonstrate low-thermal-conductivity TBCs that reduce conductive heat transport. In addition, should our Phase II optional tasks be funded we will develop smart erosion sensors and microstructure with decreased thermal conductivity.

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