Leoben knowhow for environmentally friendly aircraft engines
11. Dezember 2013
The requirements to next generation aircrafts are enormous: the planes are to be quieter, more fuel-efficient and substantially more environmentally friendly. A materials system developed at the Department of Physical Metallurgy and Materials Testing of Montanuniversität Leoben (University of Leoben) in the working group of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Helmut Clemens and Ass.-Prof. Dr. Svea Mayer now […]
“The new material belongs to the class of inter-metallic titanium aluminides (TiAl), i.e. is a compound of several metals coordinated at the atomic level”, explains Prof. Clemens. The portions of titanium and aluminium atoms are set at a particular ratio. “Thus, a so-called inter-metallic compound with an orderly crystalline structure results”, continues the Leoben materials scientist. “Each atom sits in a particular spot.”
That is the characteristic of titanium aluminides, which is responsible for its particular properties. Engine manufacturers worldwide are looking for possibilities to increase the efficiency of their drive aggregates, and for that they have their eyes set on TiAl. So far, however, this innovative lightweight construction material has been hardly formable and workable, since it has a brittle material behaviour. This has changed, thanks to the inter-disciplinary research work of the leading German engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines together with the scientists of Montanuniversität Leoben, materials suppliers, a smithy and further specialists. The result is the so-called geared turbofan (GTF™) of the US aerospace company Pratt & Whitney, a partner of MTU. The first aeroplanes equipped with these particularly environmentally friendly and economical engines are to take off in the last quarter of 2015.
“Titanium aluminides are currently advancing into the domain of heavy nickel alloys as the most successful alternative”, emphasises Dr. Jörg Eßlinger, Manager of Material Engineering at MTU. The weight of the new TiAl material is only half that of the nickel base alloy used so far, but has comparable properties up to approx. 800 degrees Celsius.
For further information:
Univ. Prof. Helmut Clemens
Tel.: +43 3842/402-4200, Mobile: +43 650 402 4201
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