The drive for energy efficiency in power generation and propulsion places the development of high-performance materials at the forefront of materials science. Turbine engine efficiency and reduction in carbon emissions are directly related to engine operating temperature. With increasing temperatures, materials start to plastically deform under load — a process known as creep, which sets severe limits on performance. Therefore, increased performance in aircraft engines and land-based power generators requires the development of new high-temperature structural materials that are resistant to creep.
NASA Glenn researchers developed a nickel-based (Ni-based) superalloy using specific alloying elements to inhibit deleterious deformation at temperatures above 700 °C. The superalloy composition significantly improves the creep life of turbine disks and also increases the operating temperature limit.