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3D-Printed Ceramics May Increase Gas Turbine Fuel Efficiency

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Penn State's Stephen Lynch holds metal 3D-printed turbine vanes.

Said Penn State's Stephen Lynch, "This process was unique in that we could generate complex-shaped parts very easily and very cheaply.”

Credit: Kate Myers/Penn State

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), the Colorado School of Mines, and the University of Wyoming found three-dimensionally (3D)-printed ceramic gas turbines have greater heat tolerance than those made from conventional metals.

The researchers 3D-printed petal-shaped blades from polymer-derived ceramics that extract energy by constantly rerouting the hot gas within the turbine engine.

This energy partially drives the rest of the engine, while the remainder produces aircraft thrust or turns an electric generator.

Explained Penn State's Stephen Lynch, "We found that with the right design for the part, the ceramic airfoil shape that we 3D-printed, can perform just as well as the metal components."

From Penn State News
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