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Self-Healing Technology for Compressor and Turbine Blades

[+] Author Affiliations
Krishna Guntur, R. S. Amano, Jose Martinez Lucci, P. K. Rohatgi, Ben Schultz

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

Paper No. GT2009-59130, pp. 759-763; 5 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2009: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 4: Cycle Innovations; Industrial and Cogeneration; Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy; Marine
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, June 8–12, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4885-2 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3849-5
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


The problem of cracking in steam turbines and compressor blades is one of the major problems associated with their design. Not only in these areas, but many other parts are suffering from the same problem of cracking due to excess stress, fatigue and high temperatures. One of the recent solutions to this is the use of specialized alloys, ceramics and metal matrix composites with improved high temperature strength and fatigue limits, but these materials will also suffer from cracking. Another potential method of improving the fatigue life of steam turbine and compressor blades is through the use of self-healing metals. There has been a recent interest in making self-healing metal composites that heal any cracks with little or no human interaction. One of the ways to achieve this is to send a healing agent (generally a low melting alloy or uncured resin) through hollow passages made in the matrix. When a crack appears, the healing agent flows into the crack, solidifies and closes the crack, effectively healing it. Recently, researchers at UW-Milwaukee have extended the concept of self-healing to metals, and have synthesized self-healing aluminum and solder alloys. This method may be used for the blades of steam turbines and compressors. The hollow passages can be made in a similar method that cooling passages of the gas turbine blades are made. Proper material choice will result in good bonding between the healing agent and the walls of a crack. This study deals with the advantages, ease of use and other considerations for this method to be used in practice. The main problems that need to be over come are materials selection, loss of strength due to addition of hollow channels, and the need to develop methods to initiate healing by flow of the healing agent into a crack. Plausible solutions to these are also discussed.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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