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Space Shuttle technology transferred to power generation industry


Connect, no.81, November-December 1996


Advanced materials are the focus of COST (Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology research) a European collaboration concerned with power engineering components.

TWI are actively involved in a programme dealing with thermal barrier coatings for combustion chamber liners in gas turbines. The objective is to increase operational temperature inside a combustion chamber by improving the thermal insulation leading to an increase in operating efficiency. This will result in better power consumption and reduction in environmental pollution.

High temperature bonding and coating methods have been developed in the Advanced Materials Processing Department at TWI based on inorganic adhesives and sintered ceramic coatings designed to join a new fibrous insulation tile layer to the wall of the combustion chamber. This thermal barrier system is similar to the technology used on the outer skin of the space shuttle for atmosphere re-entry. However, in the case of gas turbine technology, the tiles must withstand extended high temperature operation and mechanical exertion over years rather than minutes.

To date, the coated fibrous insulation has survived all forms of testing. The next stage is testing the bonded section where the insulation tiles are attached to the combustor substrate.

Please contact Wendy Hanson (e-mail: ) for further details of this programme.

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