AlliedSignal Engines is addressing critical concerns slowing commercialization of structural ceramics in gas turbines. The AlliedSignal 331-200[CT] APU test bed features ceramic first-stage nozzles and blades. Fabrication of ceramic components provides manufacturing process demonstration scale-up to minimum levels for commercial viability. Endurance tests and field testing in commercial aircraft will demonstrate component reliability.
Manufacturing scale-up activities showed significant progress in 1997. Subcontractors AlliedSignal Ceramic Components (CC, Torrance, CA) and Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corporation (KICC, Vancouver, WA), transitioned process refinements to demonstration. CC initiated trial production of 100 nozzles/month. These suppliers are also developing fixed processes to fabricate ceramic integrally-bladed turbine rotors (“blisks”).
Ceramic design technology advanced with carbon particle impact testing supporting impact model verification, and 300 hours successful engine testing of longer-life inserted blade attachment compliant layers. Ceramic turbine nozzles were readied for planned field demonstrations with 473 hours of engine testing.
This work was funded as part of the Turbine Engine Technologies Program by the DoE Office of Transportation Technologies under Contract No. DE-AC02-96EE50454.