Aircraft Engine Coating Could Triple Service Life and Save Fuel

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%. The hope is that motors with the new layers will be in production within two years. The surface layer is sprayed on top of the metal components. Thanks to this extra layer, the engine is shielded from heat. The temperature can also be raised, which leads to increased efficiency, reduced emissions, and decreased fuel consumption.

The ceramic layer is subjected to great stress when the enormous changes in temperature make the material alternately expand and contract. Making the layer elastic is therefore important. The new layer has been tested thousands of times in thermal shock tests to simulate the temperature changes in an aircraft engine. The new coating layer lasts at least three times as long as a conventional layer, while it has low heat conduction abilities.

One of the most important issues for the researchers to solve is how they can monitor what happens to the structure of the coating over time, and to understand how the microstructure in the layer works.