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Deformation of materials at high temperatures is a problem in modern propulsion and generation systems, but remedies are being explored

GE AviationGE9X engine cutaway

A METHOD has been developed to stop high-performance materials changing shape and size when subjected to extreme temperatures like those associated with jet turbine engines or power generators.

This change in size is referred to as “creep” and can affect performance over time.

A process called ‘phase transformation strengthening’ has been developed to stop the materials behaving like this.

Scientists at Ohio State University’s Center for Electron Microscopy combined atomic-resolution imaging with density functional theory (DFT) resulting in the discovery of a way of strengthening materials at high-temperatures, reports Nature Communications.

They do this by increasing the concentrations of titanium, tantalum and niobium in superalloys which inhibits the formation of high-temperature deformation twins (combinations of mechanical and physical properties). This improves the alloy’s high-temperature capabilities.