Turbine blades half the weight of today's components that provide dramatic improvements in engine thrust-to-weight ratios could emerge from European Union research costing €41 million ($54.3 million) over five years and involving 42 research groups, academic and industrial, from 15 countries including Russia.

The blades would be made from a mixture of titanium and aluminium, which is classed as an intermetallic - a material that consists of two or more metals, but has a crystalline structure radically different from that of its parent metals. Such a component will have a density half that of normal blade alloys, and greater strength at temperatures of 800¡C (1,470¡F) or more.

"We would use the blades in the low-pressure part of the engine where the temperature gets very hot. With the 50% weight reduction, it's worth investing a lot of time and money," says intermetallic project co-ordinator Dr David Jarvis, based at the European Space Agency's directorate of human spaceflight in the Netherlands. The Intermetallic Materials Processing in Relation to Earth and Space Solidification project is being conducted under the European Union's Sixth Framework research mechanism.


Source: Flight International