Joint Test Protocol for Gas Turbine Engine Materials

NCMS Project #: 140479

Problem: A bench level joint test protocol to accurately recreate hot section wear, plugging, glazing, and calcium-magnesium-alumino-silicate (CMAS) formation on turbine engine components does not exist.

Benefit: A joint engine ingestion test protocol will feed into the planning and development of gas turbine engines (GTEs) for all three services and the original equipment manufac­turers (OEMs) that support them.  Having a common testing method with a fixed composition compound for ingestion will allow a damage atlas to be developed that will enable uniform failure and design analysis to be performed on test compo­nents and, potentially, returned service components.  A common test method should force component improvements on fielded and developing systems/technology insertion opportunities.

A powerful secondary capability will be to leverage the equipment and expertise to challenge test new components and coatings for sand and volcanic ash resistance.  AFRL and fellow members of the JTESIWG will be in a much better position to help authors of tech data at program offices and depots write “retirement for cause” criteria by which to downward adjust component lifespan in accordance with ORM principles.  Large savings in unnecessarily conservative avoidance measures will be enabled, along with enhanced ability to generate sorties in marginal conditions.

The technology developed to meet and exceed the DoD performance requirements will filter out to the commercial sector by providing a more robust test protocol that will improve the overall capability of the commercial systems.  The commercial needs are different from the DoD needs, but the goals of commercial engines to run hotter in particulate-laden air will benefit from direct component testing or by extension from changes in general design criteria for engines that will make the engines more robust.

Solution/Approach: This project will design a CMAS-forming sand and dust fine media which will ultimately be used to aggressively screen low performing components/protective systems and replicate degradation similar to the most problematic dusts on ingestion into an operating gas turbine engine in the Southwest Asia theater of operations.  Assorted synthetic and natural sands and dusts used in typical erosion tests do not produce the effects observed in engines and components returned from the field.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Improve engine sustainment and
    decrease failure rate
  • Reduce sustainment costs
  • Expand time on wing
  • Increase crew safety.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Air Force (Wright Patterson AFB)
  • DoD Rotor Blade Erosion Working Group (RBEWG)

Industry Participation:

  • University of Dayton Research Institute
  • NCMS

Final Report