M

aterials in Jet

Engines:
Past, Present, and Future
Robert

Schafrik
General Manger, Materials & Process Engineering
GE Aircraft Engines
Slide 1
Overview
Introduction
Highlights of Key Developments
Materials in Aero Engines
Future Directions
Summary and Take Aways
INTRODUCTION
Slide 3
We Have Come a Long Way!
GE90-115B
Engine Specifications
Bore: 4 inches
Stroke: 4 inches
Displacement: 201 cubic inches
Compression Ration: 4.7:1
Horsepower: 25 hp
Cooling: Liquid Circulated by thermo-siphon and radiator
Lubrication: Splash system, circulation by pump and gravity
Dry Weight: 180 pounds
Specifications
Thrust Class (lb) 115,300
Length (in) 218
Bypass Ratio 7.1
Pressure Ratio 42.2
Slide 4
Jet Propulsion Beginnings
Sir Frank Whittle
• Original Patent on Jet Engine filed January, 1929
• First flight engine: Power Jets W-1
– Flew in British Gloster G-40, May 15, 1941
• Came to GE to scale-up jet engines
Hans von O’Hain
• Worked in secret for German military
• First demo engine: S-1, 1937, burned hydrogen gas
• First flight engine: Heinkel S-3B
– Flew in Heinkel 178 airplane, Aug 27, 1939
Slide 5
Power Jets Whittle W-1A
Slide 6
Commercial High By-Pass Ratio Engine
Low Pressure Turbine
High Pressure Turbine
Combustor
High Pressure Compressor
Fan
Core
Air
Low Pressure Compressor
or Booster
Slide 7
Drivers for Advancing AeroTurbine Technology
Modern World Expectation: Freedom to Travel

Anywhere
• Quickly
• Inexpensively
• Safely
National Defense Needs
• Push limits of technology
• High Reliability
Slide 8
50 years … of turbine engine

improvements
Flight Safety
(accidents per MFH)
1940 1960 1980 2000
90%
Improvement
Thrust to Weight
1940 1960 1980 2000
350%
Increase
1940 1960 1980 2000
Fuel Efficiency
(SFC)
45%
Improvement
1940 1960 1980 2000
Engine Noise
(cum db’s)
35 db
Decrease
Slide 9
Conceptual Cycles and Temperatures
Cruise
Climb
HSCT
(Future)
HSCT
(Future)
Land
Take-off
Existing Sub-sonic
Existing Sub-sonic
Cruise
Climb
T
41
Time
HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY

M&P DEVELOPMENTS
Slide 11
Improved Engine Materials
P
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C
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&

N
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New
New
Materials
Materials
M
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m
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P
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s
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C
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Ref: Prof James C. Williams,

Ohio State University
Improving Engine Materials Requires
Much More Than Alloy Development
Slide 12
Interplay of Process and Alloy Development
Titanium
Stainless Steel
Cobalt
Nickel Superalloys
Polymer Matrix

Composites
Thermal Barrier

Coatings
Vacuum Induction

Melting
Arc Melting
Investment Casting

of Complex Shapes
Powder Metal

Superalloys
Turbine Coatings T
I
M
E
Directionally Solidified

and Single Crystal Airfoils
Multiple Vacuum

Melting Cycles
Intermetallics
Ceramic Matrix

Composites
1
9
5
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1
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6
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1
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7
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EB-PVD
Large Structural Castings
Iso-Thermal

Forging
SiC Melt

Infiltration
Laser Deposition
Slide 13
Important Developments
Vacuum Melting
Nickel-based Superalloys
Titanium

Investment Casting
Forging
Vacuum Melting
Slide 15
Vacuum Melting
Superalloy age really commenced with Vacuum

Induction Melting about 1950
• Commercial pumps able to sustain 10µ vacuum level
• Vacuum sealing technology greatly improved leak-
down rate
Eliminated detrimental trace and minor

elements
• Allowed addition of reactive elements to the melt
Slide 16
52100 Bearing Steel
VIM replaced air melt electric furnace
• Steel properties had varied widely due to oxide inclusions
– Led to many bearing failures
But VIM 52100 suffered from rarely occurring,

randomly distributed exogenous ceramic inclusions
• Early failure in a few bearings -> infant mortality
• Source: erosion of furnace liner, weir, and gating
Important lesson learned:

• Exceptionally deleterious defects occurring at low frequency
Slide 17
VAR
First disclosed as process for melting in 1839
Became follower of VIM in premium quality nickel and

iron alloy formulation

• Unique chemistry control best in VIM
VAR ingots have higher bulk density than VIM
• Macrostructure managed via solidification control
Premium Quality 52100
• VIM-VAR dispersed exogenous inclusions
• Eliminated infant mortality problem
Slide 18
Development Risk

Assessment Map
A
D
Impact of Defect Occurrence
P
r
o
b
a
b
i
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t
y

o
f

D
e
f
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c
t

O
c
c
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c
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Example: Forging grain

size slightly out of

specification
Example: Hard alpha in

wrought titanium
Example: Quench cracking of

hardenable superalloy
HIGH
LOW
L
O
W
Example: Low angle grain

boundaries in single crystal

castings

Defects that occur sporadically,

causing negligible harm

Accommodate by changes to design

practice and/or specifications

Defects that occur very infrequently,

and are exceptionally deleterious

to

component performance

Rigorous attention to all elements of

the process, or an entirely new

process, is required
process

Defects that occur frequently,

causing slight component

detriment

Reduce frequency to Zone A

by process control changes
B C
H
I
G
H

Defects that occur often, and

are quite deleterious

to

component performance

Reduce or eliminate by

process control changes or

change to an improved

Nickel-based Superalloys
Slide 20
Overview
First Jet Engines Employed Stainless Steels
• Temperature Limitations of these materials led many to

question commercial viability of jet propulsion
Success: Several excellent heat resistant alloy families

implemented during the 1950s
• Nimonic Series in Great Britain
• Tinidur Alloys in Germany
• Inconel Alloys in US
Slide 21
Early Nickel-based Superalloys
Superalloys truly enabled efficient, practical gas turbines
• Outstanding strength…tensile, creep, fatigue
• Excellent ductility and toughness
• High Temperature Capability, to 0.75 solidus temperature
1950s
• Chemistry changes and melting improvements
– Derivatives of oxidation resistant rotor stainless steels
• Addition of Al and Ti opened age of superalloys
– Gamma-prime (γ', [Ni
3
Al]) highly effective strengthener
– Stable at high temperature
– Coherent precipitate
Slide 22
Highlight:

Alloy 718
IN718 introduced by Huntington Alloys in 1960
• Key precipitation phase: γ" [Ni
3
Nb]
– Effective strengthener, high tensile strength
– Not quite temperature capability of γ‘ alloys
– Slower precipitation kinetics allowed improved processing

and welding
– Excellent balance of properties, reasonable cost, readily

castable and forgeable

Slide 23
Superalloy Progress: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s
Progress often chaotic and undisciplined
• Much work done in secret, proprietary fashion
Excessive alloying additions led to precipitation phase instability
• Gradual but persistent TCP formation during service exposure
Need separation between hardening phase solvus and alloy MP
• At least 30ºC

• Permits re-solutioning and re-precipitation of the strengthening phase
• Limits amount of strengthening elements that can be added
Alloys can be tailored for specific environments, such as oxidation

resistance
• Trade-off for some other desirable property

Alloy compositions possessing the “best” properties not always

producible in the required shape due to processing limitations
Titanium
Slide 25
Why Titanium?
Slide 26
Fan Blades and Disks

Properties Considered
• Tensile strength

– Load carrying capability…disk burst strength
• High cycle fatigue
– Blade resistance to airflow stimulus
• Low cycle fatigue
– Life capability of blade dovetail and disk critical locations
• Impact Strength
– Airfoil Foreign Object

Damage (FOD) resistance
• Damage tolerance…crack growth rate & threshold
– Ability to accommodate metallurgical/mechanical anomalies
• Elastic modulus
– Blade deflection & HCF stimulus
• Density
– Strength to weight ratio
• Environmental resistance
– Erosion
Alloy Ti Al V Cr Mo Zr Sn
Ti-64 Bal. 6 4
Ti-17 Bal. 5 4 4 2 2
Ti-811* Bal. 8 1 1

* Blades Only
Chemical Composition of Fan Disk/Blade Alloys
Slide 27
Processing Temp Effect - Ti-17
Processing Temp Effect - Ti-17
•Higher tensile duct.
•Higher toughness
•Better LCF Life
•Lower Crack Growth
β transus -25 ºC > β transus
Slide 28
Challenges of Titanium
Hydrogen Embrittlement
• Brittle fracture at less than design load minimum

– Caused by migration of occluded hydrogen to tensile stress concentration
• Mitigation: designing chemical and thermal processes to prevent introduction of

hydrogen into titanium components
Anode “drop in”
• Introduction of tungsten into the melt during non-consumable VAR
• Mitigation: Consumable electrode VAR
Hot Salt Stress Corrosion
• Alloys with high alpha phase content most susceptible
• Mitigation: Avoid use of susceptible alloys at elevated temperatures
Alpha Case formation
• Formation of brittle oxygen-rich surface layer
• Mitigation: Heat treat titanium in vacuum or chemical mill after heat treatment to

remove the contaminated layer
Dwell Time Fatigue
• Creep-fatigue interaction that substantially reduces fatigue life
– Occurs at sustained (dwell) loads at relatively low temperatures (200°C)
– Susceptible alloys: Creep-resistant, forged alloys with highly textured alpha

phase
– Mitigation: Modify thermo-mechanical processing to avoid textured alpha

phase microstructure
Slide 29
Melting Titanium
Molten titanium is very reactive
• Cannot be melted in a VIM furnace
– Reacts with refractory lining
– Cannot be contained in metal crucibles
Melting and synthesis of titanium made practical arc melting in a water-
cooled copper crucible
• Molten titanium is contained by a thin layer of titanium that solidifies on the

cooled copper walls
Infrequent undermining and spalling of tungsten non-consumable electrode

caused a Zone D defect
• Abated by Radiographic inspection
• Eventually eliminated by consumable electrode VAR
– Electrode made from the material being melted
Cold Hearth Melting…an important new process technology
• Increased residence time of the input material in the molten pool

– Dissolving

high interstitial defects (nitrogen, oxygen , or carbon- rich)
– Trapping high density inclusions

in the skull
– Producing an ingot with minimum solute segregation
– CHM is currently followed by a final VAR step to remove various process-
related

conditions

– Initial VAR melts are typically followed by 2 additional VAR melts, each done

under somewhat different processing conditions to provide additional refining

capability and to improve the macrostructure of the ingot
Slide 30
EBM (Electron Beam Cold Hearth Melting)
EBM (Electron Beam Cold Hearth Melting)
Electron Beam
Power Input
Ingot

Molten
Pool
Melting
Hearth
Refining
Hearth
Ingot

Being
Withdrawn
Acknowledgement:
THT patented hearth design
Slide 31
Challenges of Titanium
Type I Defect

• High Density Inclusions--Stabilized hard, brittle particles
– Result from reactivity of titanium: Titanium nitride, tungsten carbide
• Mitigation: Cold Hearth Melting and Ultrasonic inspection
Type II Defect
• Segregation of elements during solidification

– Reduce fatigue life
• Mitigation: Improved process control during melting & Ultrasonic inspection
Self-sustaining Titanium Fires
• Fires ignited by high contact stress rub against a titanium structure
– Occurs under conditions of elevated temperature and pressure, and high

mass flow
• Mitigation

– Coating titanium structure in susceptible regions to minimize effect of a rub
– Development of improved burn-resistant alloys

Slide 32
Extrinsic Melt Related Defects
Extrinsic Melt Related Defects
High Density Inclusion
(W rich inclusion)
Hard Alpha
(N rich inclusion)
Investment Casting
Slide 34
Investment Casting
Casting found extensive application
• Reduce manufacturing cycle time and cost

• Acceptable quality and strength levels
• Enabled design of components with:
– Lower weight and part count

– Eliminating welds and associated preps, inspections
Slide 35
Progress in Investment Casting
First application of a casting on a rotating part occurred in the 1950s

when a solid turbine airfoil was investment cast
• Required processes to reduce casting defects that limited strength
• Driving force for casting was increased complexity in airfoil design
– Internal cooling air passages
– Later, it was discovered that airfoils could be cast as single crystals
Improved casting of large structural components

Challenges
• Maintaining thermodynamic stability of complex superalloys
• Accommodating ductility trough (650ºC – 760ºC ) during processing
Slide 36
Processing

Advantage
GE90 Turbine

Rear Frame
Castability and Weldability of Alloy 718 enables

application of complex cast structures
Slide 37
Turbine Air Foil Casting Processes

Equiaxed (EQ)

Dir. Sol. (DS)

Single Xtal (SX)
Slide 38
Complexity of Airfoil Castings
Slide 39
Thermal Barrier Coatings
Key TBC Features:
• Columnar structure in top coat for spall resistance
• Oxidation resistant and adherent bond coat
• Bond coat compatible with alloy substrate
Ceramic
top coat
Bond coat
Turbine blade
Hot Gas
Forging
Slide 41
Progress in Forging
Evolution from hammer forging to press forging
• Enabled forging of large, complex shapes (Disks)
– Part-to-Part uniformity of properties
Isothermal forging (Superplastic)
• High strength superalloy powder billets
– Eliminate strain-induced cracking
• “Clean” powder
• Molybdenum TZM die material
• Controlled slow strain rate forging
Slide 42
Ladish 10,000 Ton Isothermal Press
High Reliability
Slide 44
Elements of High Reliability
Non Destructive Evaluation
• Locate defects
• Surface NDE Methods
– Visual, Smoothness, Replication, Dye Penetrant
• Near-Surface NDE Methods
– Eddy current, Magnetic particle
• Sub-surface NDE Methods
– Radiography, Ultrasonic

Life Prediction
• Estimate component life based on aircraft engine mission profile and

material damage mechanisms
– Low cycle fatigue, thermal fatigue, oxidation, hot corrosion, inter-
diffusion, creep, plus interactions of these mechanisms
Premium Quality Melting
• Multiple melting steps required to eliminate defects
– Reproducible properties require defect-free metal
Slide 45
Premium Quality Melting of Nickel Alloys
VIM
ESR VAR
Remove

Inclusions

Control

Macrostructure
Formulate

Composition
Triple Melt Key for High Reliability Components
Slide 46
Premium Quality Melting of Titanium Alloys
CHM VAR
-Dissolve

High Interstitial Defects
-Trap High Density Inclusions
-Minimize Solute Segregation
Remove Various

Process-related

Conditions
USE of NICKEL in AEROENGINES
Slide 48
Alloy 718 Introduction
1950’s

Turbine manufacturers primarily relied upon:

• Precipitation-strengthened stainless steels (i.e., A286)

• γ′−strengthened Ni-base superalloy, such as René 41
Late 1950's

Reached limits of the stainless steels

Fabrication limits of René 41
1960

Huntington Alloys-INCO

introduced Alloy 718
• Significantly improved ease of manufacture

• Mechanical properties that approach René 41
• Interest from several GE engine programs
Slide 49
Material Usage
Relative Input Weights For a CF6 Engines
Al-base
8%
CF6 Material By Finished Weight

718
34%
Other Ni-base
13%
Ti
25%
Fe-base
16%
Powder
0%
Composites
4%
Forging
82%
Sheet
12%
Cast
6%
CF6 Material By Form
Slide 50
Metals Used in All Forgings for CY 2000
Alloy 718
56%
Other Ni
18%
PM
5%
Titanium
9%
Aluminum
5%
Fe-base
6%
Co-base
1%
Alloy 718 represents 56%
of the forgings at GEAE
Future Directions, Summary and Take

Aways
Slide 52
Large Fan Blades
Hollow Ti and PMC’s in use
• Necessary for large engines
• Both presently in service
• New PMC’s make this possible
• PMC’s gain benefit with size
• Both expensive to make
• Life cycle costs may differ
• Both different than solid blades
Neither Technology
Possible 15 Years Ago
Slide 53
Composite and Titanium Fan Ducts
Composite
Ti alloy
Composite Duct
• Carbon fiber + PMR15
• Filament wound Tow-preg
• Wt: 23% less than Ti
• Cost: 28% less than Ti
Ti Duct
• Ti-6Al-4V
• Wrapped & welded
• Chemical milled grid
New Manufacturing Technology Makes PMC Ducts Attractive
Slide 54
Future

Directions

to

Improve

M&P
Alloy development
• Disk alloys
– Higher T capability, better damage tolerance
– E.G., alloy with more temperature capability than 718
• Turbine blade alloys
– Higher T capability
• Layered structures, hybridized components
Processing
• Reduce variation in processing
• Closer marriage of materials and process technology
• Improved process control to eliminate rework and scrap

• Reduced cost
Slide 55
Typical Development Times for Materials
I.

Modification of an existing material for a non-critical component
– Approximately 2-3 years
II.

Modification of an existing material for a critical structural component
– Up to 4 years
III.

New material within a system that we already have experience
– Up to 10 years
– Includes time to define the chemistry and the processing details
IV.

New material class
– Up to 20 years, and beyond

– Includes the time to

– Develop design practices that fully exploit the performance of the material
– Establish a viable industrial base
GRAND CHALLENGE
Drastically Reduce Development Times for New Materials

…While Reducing Risk!
Slide 56
Fundamental Challenge
How can the Materials Community best

contribute to achieving an improved aero-engine

in a timely way
New Materials

Development
Business Need Risk
Development Cost
Technical Maturity
Slide 57
Vision
Today Future
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Evolutionary

Materials
Advanced

Materials
Slide 60
Summary
Materials have enabled progress in aero-engines
• Materials and Design engineers have both benefited from

ongoing game of “leapfrog”
High introductory cost of new M&P offset by compelling

customer benefit
Continuing challenge of exceptionally deleterious

defects occurring at very low frequencies
• Significantly influences M&P development of high integrity

structural materials
Slide 61
Summary
Each gain in an alloy property is often tempered by a

corresponding debit
• Material property trade-offs
Materials modeling and simulation will revolutionize

materials development
• Not just a matter of doing faster…doing it much better

Still Lots of Exciting Materials Challenges!!!
Slide 62
Take Aways
Sprague Laws
1. The first information you hear about a new material
– Usually its the best thing you’ll ever hear about it
2. Any fool can melt it
– Getting it to solidify properly is what counts
3. Materials scientists still believe that microstructure

controls properties
– Materials engineers understand that defects actually

control the usable properties