QuesTek awarded $1.2M funding to design niobium-based alloys for AM

January 22, 2021

QuesTek has been awarded funding to design and develop a novel materials solution for next-generation turbine blade alloys (Courteys QuesTek)

QuesTek Innovations LLC, Evanston, Illinois, USA, has been awarded $1.2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be used to design and develop a novel materials solution for next-generation turbine blade alloys and compatible coating systems.

The company will design a system of functionally-graded niobium-based alloys suitable for Additive Manufacturing that will be capable of sustaining high-temperature operation, thus increasing fuel efficiency.

Dr Dana Frankel, QuesTek’s Manager of Design and Product Development, commented, “Designing a new turbine material with significantly better performance than current nickel-based superalloys is one of the biggest challenges facing the field of materials science today.”

She added, “We’re excited for this opportunity to apply our proven computational materials design approach to develop a new refractory turbine alloy, paving the way for a step-change in turbine engine performance and efficiency.”

QuesTek explains that it will apply its Integrated Computational Materials Engineering-based models and experience in design of superalloys, refractory alloys, high entropy alloys, and coatings to design a buildable niobium-based multi-material alloy system. Concurrent design of material and component, with the aim of accelerating adoption of the designed materials into next-generation engines, will reportedly be achieved by collaborating with turbine engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to define aerospace requirements, perform component design, and guide testing and qualification.

Additionally, the project team includes NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for AM process development and the University of Minnesota for coating development.

QuesTek received the award from ARPA-E’s ULtrahigh Temperature Impervious Materials Advancing Turbine Efficiency (ULTIMATE) programme, to develop and demonstrate ultrahigh temperature materials that can operate in the high temperature and high stress environments of a gas-turbine blade.

This effort is said to directly address the need to improve gas turbine efficiency for aerospace and energy applications (e.g., ground-based industrial gas turbines), critical for increasing fuel economy and decreasing carbon emissions. Engine efficiency is fundamentally determined by maximum cycle temperature, and thus scales directly with the operating temperature. However, current state-of-the-art superalloys have limited high-temperature stability, concludes the company.

www.questek.com

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 168-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Metal Additive Manufacturing and the new Space Race: The inside track with Launcher and AMCM
  • Falcontech: The journey from materials engineering to large-scale metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Strategies for advancing the automation of metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Machine Learning and Additive Manufacturing: What does the future hold?
  • System 3R: Bridging critical gaps in the Additive Manufacturing workflow to enable serial production
  • Metal AM in South Africa: Research and commercial initiatives bring the benefit of AM to the African continent
  • CFD simulation for metal Additive Manufacturing: Applications in laser- and sinter-based processes
  • > More information

Latest news

    E-newsletter

    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap