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The World's Biggest and Best Gas Turbine Can Power 400,000 Homes

General Electric's 9HA is the most advanced and efficient gas turbine
available today and though it may not be able to lift a 787 off the ground,
this potent electricity producer can easily power a mid-size metropolis.


In gas turbine industry, the blade of the high pressure turbine has
received the highest attention of the researchers because the challenge
it provides.
The ability to run at increasingly high gas temperatures has resulted
from a combination of material improvements and the development of
more sophisticated arrangements for internal and external cooling; for
instance, nowadays, high pressure turbine blades receive compressed air
bled from the compressor and it is injected to the turbine blades though
small holes drilled on them, with the purpose to establish a protection
layer on the edge of the blades and guaranty that hot flue gases could not
affect directly them.


Modern gas turbines have the most advanced and sophisticated technology in all
aspects; construction materials are not the exception due their extreme operating
conditions. The most difficult and challenging point is the one located at the
turbine inlet, because, there are several difficulties associated to it; like, extreme
temperature (1400OC 1500OC), high pressure, high rotational speed,
vibration,small circulation area, and so on. The aforementioned rush
characteristics produces
that are shown
on the table.
Oxidation effects
Hot on the blades

















In order to overcome those barriers, gas turbine blades are made using advanced
materials and modern alloys (superalloys) that contains up to ten significant
alloying elements, but its microstructure is very simple; consisted of rectangular
blocks of stone stacked in a regular array with narrow bands of cement to hold
them together.
This material (cement) has been changed because in the past,intermetallic form of
titanium was used in it, but nowadays, it has been replaced by tantalum.This
change gave improved high temperature strength,and also improved oxidation
However, the biggest change has occurred in the nickel, where high levels of
tungsten and rhenium are present. These elements are very effective in solution
strengthening. hand, single crystal alloy, is able to run about 35C hotter.

Temperature and pressure profile in gas turbine.

Increase of Turbine
Turbine components have been continually improved over decades, specifically with
respect to temperature resistance. Initially the focus for improvement was as the blade
material itself and its temperature capability. Large improvements have been achieved
since the sixties by continually refining the casting methods, developing new Ni-base
alloys, optimizing component shapes, component dimensions, grain structures and
finally by applying special cooling methods to the components.
This process continues today, but gains in temperature and effciency have reached the
limits set by the laws of physics. Since the seventies, metal base vacuum coatings (e.g.
MCrAlY) have been applied to protect the Ni-base alloy component surface against
corrosion by hot gas. The success of these coatings marked the starting point for the
development of non-metallic coatings with thermal insulation properties. Today these
coatings are an integral part of the design of all modern aircraft turbine engines.

List of turbine blade materials

U-500 This material was used as a first stage (the most demanding stage) material in the 1960s, and is now used in
later, less demanding, stages.
Rene 77
Rene N5
Rene N6
IN-738 - GE used IN-738 as a first stage blade material from 1971 until 1984, when it was replaced by GTD-111. It
is now used as a second stage material. It was specifically designed for land-based turbines rather than aircraft gas
GTD-111 Blades made from directionally solidified GTD-111 are being used in many GE Energy gas turbines in the
first stage. Blades made from equiaxed GTD-111 are being used in later stages.
EPM-102 (MX4 (GE), PWA 1497 (P&W)) is a single crystal super alloy jointly developed by NASA, GE Aviation, and
Pratt & Whitney for the High Speed Civil Transport (HSCT). While the HSCT program was cancelled, the alloy is still
being considered for use by GE and P&W.
Nimonic 80a was used for the turbine blades on the Rolls-Royce Nene and de Havilland Ghost
Nimonic 90 was used on the Bristol Proteus.
Nimonic 105 was used on the Rolls-Royce Spey.
Nimonic 263 was used in the combustion chambers of the Bristol Olympus used on the Concorde supersonic
Note: This list is not inclusive of all alloys used in turbine blades

Compressor blading materials for gas turbines - Special steels

All production blades for compressors are made from 12% chromiumcontaining
martensitic stainless steel grades 403 or 403 Cb (Schilke, 2004). Corrosion of
compressor blades can occur due to moisture containing salts and acids collecting on
the blading. To prevent the corrosion, GE has developed patented aluminum slurry
coatings for the compressor blades. The coatings are also meant to impart improved
erosion resistance to the blades. During the 1980s, GE introduced a new compressor
blade material, GTD-450, a precipitation hardened martensitic stainless steel for its
advanced and uprated machines (Schilke, 2004). Without sacrificing stress corrosion
resistance, GTD-450 offers increased tensile strength, high cycle fatigue strength and
corrosion fatigue strength, compared to type 403. GTD-450 also possesses superior
resistance to acidic salt environments to type 403, due to higher concentration of
chromium and presence of molybdenum (Schilke, 2004).

Titanium alloys used for compressor parts chemical composition and maximum
service temperature

Compressor blade materials for land based gas turbines

Combustion hardware for gas turbines

Driven by the increased firing temperatures of the gas turbines and the need for
improved emission control, significant development efforts have been made to
advance the combustion hardware, by way of adopting sophisticated materials and
processes. The primary basis for the material changes that have been made is
improvement of high temperature creep rupture strength without sacrificing the
oxidation / corrosion resistance. Traditionally combustor components have been
fabricated out of sheet nickel-basesuperalloys. Hastelloy X, a material with higher
creep strength was used from 1960s to 1980s.
Nimonic 263 was subsequently introduced and has still higher creep strength
(Schilke, 2004).As firing temperatures further increased in the newer gas turbine
models, HA-188, a cobalt base superalloy has been recently adopted for some
combustion system components for improved creep rupture strength (Schilke,
2004). Coutsouradis et al. reviewed the applications of cobalt-base superalloys for
combustor and other components in gas turbines (Coutsouradis et al., 1987).
Nickel base superalloys 617 and 230 find wide application for combustor

Combustor materials

Turbine Disk
A286, an austenitic iron-base alloy has been used for years in aircraft engine
applications (Schilke, 2004). Superalloy 718 has been used for manufacture of
discs in aircraft engines for Materials for more than 25 years (Schilke, 2004). Both
these alloys have been produced through the conventional ingot metallurgy route.
Powder Metallurgy (PM) processing is being extensively used in production of
superalloy components for gas turbines. PM processing is essentially used for
Nickel-based superalloys. It is primarily used for production of high strength
alloys used for disc manufacture such as IN100 or Rene95 which are difficult or
impractical to forge by conventional methods. LC Astroloy, MERL 76, IN100,
Rene95 and Rene88 DT are the PM superalloys where ingot metallurgy route for
manufacture of turbine discs was replaced by the PM route.

The advantages of PM processing are listed in the following:

Superalloys such as IN-100 or Rene95 difficult or impractical to forge by
conventional methods. P/M processing provides a solution
Improves homogeneity / minimizes segregation, particularly in complex Ni-base
alloy systems
Allows closer control of microstructure and better property uniformity within a
part than what is possible in cast and ingot metallurgy wrought products. Finer
grain size can be realized.
Alloy development flexibility due to elimination of macro-segregation.
Consolidated powder products are often super-plastic and amenable to isothermal
forging, reducing force requirements for forging.
It is a near net shape process; hence significantly less raw material input required
and also reduced machining cost, than in case of conventional ingot metallurgy.
Several engines manufactured by General Electric and Pratt and Whitney are
using superalloy discs manufactured through PM route.

Turbine blades and vanes Cast superalloyss

Recognition of the material creep strength as an important consideration for the gas
turbine engines, understanding generated between age hardening, creep and volume
fraction and the steadily increasing operating-temperature requirements for the
aircraft engines resulted in development of wrought alloys with increasing levels of
aluminum plus titanium. Component forgeability problems led to this direction of
development not going beyond a certain extent. The composition of the wrought
alloys became restricted by the hot workability requirements. This situation led to
the development of cast nickel-base alloys. Casting compositions can be tailored for
good high temperature strength as there was no forgeability requirement.

Nozzle materials for gas

GE engines use FSX 414, a GE-patented cobalt base alloy for all stage 1 nozzles
and some later stage nozzles. Cobalt base alloys possess superior strength at very
high temperatures compared to nickel base superalloys hence the choice of
cobalt base superalloy. It has a two-three fold oxidation resistance compared to
X40 and X45, also cobalt based superalloys used for nozzle applications. Use of
FSX 414 over C40/C45 hence enables increased firing temperatures for a given
oxidation life (Schilke, 2004).
Later stage nozzles must also possess adequate creep strength and GE developed a
nickel base superalloy GTD222 for some stage 2 and stage 3 applications. The
alloy has significantly higher creep strength compared to FSX414. N155, an ironbased superalloy, has good weldability and is used for later stage nozzles of some
GE engines (Schilke, 2004).

Nozzle materials


For the material selection, the key points are the first stages turbine disks and
blades where the stresses and temperatures are the highest. Table summarizes the
thermal and mechanical loads for the turbine disks and blades. The materials for
these components should ensure a safe operation for at least 60000 hours.
Therefore, a ground rule for the material selection of the most critical parts was
proposed as following


Materials selection and testing for HTGR turbine blades
has been extensively studied.
Essentially 2 types of metallic materials were
- Nickel-base cast superalloys.
- Molybdenum-base grades.

Ni-base cast superalloys

In several past R&D programs, selected alloys were
ranked by their high temperature strength, castability
and cobalt content. Most promising alloys for the blades
are therefore:
- 713LC [6,7,8,10,11,12,13]
- M21 [7,10,12]
- MAR-M 004 [7,13,12]

Alloy 713 LC is a cast nickel base precipitation hardened alloy that combines superior castability and
creep resistance. Alloy 713LC has the advantage of wide industrial experience in conventional gas
turbine (turbine housings, case, stator).
Alloy 713 LC neither contains Co or Ta and should therefore not present any contamination problems,
hi HTGR environment, alloy 713LC can be susceptible to carburisation and sulfidation problems, and
coatings have to be envisaged.
Alloy 713LC is well suited for the turbine blades required specifications, except for the first row of
blades where cooling would be necessary to achieve the required lifetime . Directionally Solidified (DS)
or Single Crystal (SC) blades would solve this problem, but alloys commonly used for DS or SC blades
contain about 10% cobalt (DS Mar M 247, SC Rene N4).
Alloy 713LC was used for the fabrication of the turbine blades in the HHV project [11].During this
project held in Germany, a full-scale test turbine driven by HTGR-type helium was built. During the
short high temperature lifetime experienced (325 hours at 850C), no material problems appeared
with the working blades.
Alloy M21 is a low chromium nickel base alloy that combines precipitation hardening and solid solution
hardening (10% tungsten addition). It was selected for its superior corrosion resistance in impure
helium.Alloy MM004 has been developed from alloy 713LC and is claimed to have a better toughness
because of Hafnium addition

Molybdenum-base alloys
The molybdenum-base alloy TZM (Mo-0.5Ti-0.08Zr) has
not been used in industrial gas turbines because of its
poor oxidation resistance in air. However, R&D efforts
performed in German HTGR programs have
demonstrated a promising application for this alloy for
helium turbine blades. As shown in figure 2, Mo-TZM
exhibits a completely different creep resistance
behaviour as compared to the nickel-base alloys, mainly
because of its high melting point (2607C) [15]. Almost
flat creep curves make a 100 OOOh life time appear
possible with an uncooled blade, as shown in figure 3 .

Advanced GE materials are paving the way for dramatic improvements in gas
turbines improvements that are setting new records in giving customers the
most fuel-efficient power generation systems available. Combined-cycle
efficiencies as high as 60% are now achievable because of increased firing
temperature coupled with more efficient component and system designs. Ongoing
GE developments now promise that the coming decade will witness continued
growth of gas turbines with higher firing temperatures, pressures and outputs.

Bucket Materials

The stage 1 bucket must withstand the most severe combination of temperature, stress and
environment; it is generally the limiting component in the machine.
Since 1950, turbine bucket material temperature capability has advanced approximately
850F/472C, approximately 20F/10C per year. The importance of this increase can be
appreciated by noting that an increase of 100F/56C in turbine firing temperature can
provide a corresponding increase of 8% to 13% in output and 2% to 4% improvement in
simple-cycle efficiency. Advances in alloys and processing, while expensive and timeconsuming, provide significant incentives through increased power density and improved
efficiency. Figure shows the trend of firing temperature and bucket alloy capability.
The composition of the new and conventional alloys discussed is shown in Table. The
increases in bucket alloy temperature capability accounted for the majority of the firing
temperature increase until the 1970s, when air cooling was introduced, which decoupled
firing temperature from bucket metal temperature. Also, as the metal temperatures
approached the 1600F/870C range, hot corrosion of buckets became more life-limiting
than strength until the introduction of protective coatings.

Firing temperature trend and bucket material


High-Temperature Alloys

Future Buckets

With the introduction of DS GTD-111, a commercial reality, development efforts are now focusing on singlecrystal processing and advanced DS alloy development. Single-crystal airfoils offer the potential to further
improve component high-temperature material strength and, by control of crystal orientation, can provide an
optimum balance of properties.
In single-crystal material, all grain boundaries are eliminated from the material structure and a single crystal with
controlled orientation is produced in an airfoil shape. By eliminating all grain boundaries and the associated grain
boundary strengthening additives, a substantial increase in the melting point of the alloy can be achieved, thus
providing a corresponding increase in high-temperature strength. The transverse creep and fatigue strength is
increased, compared to equiaxed or DS structures. GE Aircraft Engines has been applying single-crystal bucket
technology for more than 10 years in flight engines. The advantage of single- crystal alloys compared to equiaxed
and DS alloys in low-cycle fatigue (LCF) is shown in Figure . GE is currently evaluating and Rainbow
rotor testing some of these single-crystal alloys for application in our next generation gas turbines. The
continuing and projected temperature capability improvements in bucket material capabilities are illustrated in
Figure . Together with improved coatings, these new bucket materials will provide continued growth capability
for GE gas turbines in the years to come.

Nozzle Materials
Stage 1 nozzles (GE terminology for the stationary vanes in the turbine) are
subjected to the hottest gas temperatures in the turbine, but to lower mechanical
stresses than the buckets. Their function is to direct the hot gases toward the
buckets and they must, therefore, be able to withstand high temperatures and
provide minimal gas turning losses. The nozzles are required to have excellent
high-temperature oxidation and corrosion resistance, high resistance to thermal
fatigue, relatively
good weldability for ease of manufacture and repair, and good castability. Latterstage nozzles must also possess adequate creep strength to support themselves and
the attached diaphragms from the external casing.

FSX-414 Nozzles
The current alloy used for all production stage 1 nozzles and some latter-stage
nozzles is FSX- 414, a GE-patented cobalt base alloy. Cobaltbase alloys generally
possess superior strength at very high temperatures, compared to nickelbased
alloys. This alloy is a derivative of X-40 and X-45, both of which were also
developed by GE and first used in the 1960s. FSX-414 contains less carbon than
X-40 to enhance weldability, and more chromium to improve oxidation/ corrosion
resistance. Long-life tests in a simulated gas turbine combustion chamber have
demonstrated a two- to three-fold increase in oxidation resistance compared to X40 and X-45. This improvement permitted an increase in the firing temperatures of
approximately 100F/56C for equivalent nozzle oxidation life.

GTD-222 Nozzles
The latter-stage, nickel-based nozzle alloy, GTD-222, was developed in response
to the need for improved creep strength in some stage 2 and stage 3 nozzles. It
offers an improvement of more than 150F/66C in creep strength compared to
FSX-414, and is weld-repairable. An important additional benefit derived from
this alloy is enhanced low-temperature hot corrosion resistance. By tailoring the
alloy to provide an optimum combination of creep strength and weldability, a
unique GE-patented nickel-base alloy was created to satisfy the demands of
advanced and uprated GE gas turbines. This alloy is vacuum investment cast and
has exhibited good producibility. Rainbow nozzle segments were fabricated from
GTD-222 and have shown excellent performance after more than 40,000 hours of
service. This nozzle alloy is now being used in the 6FA, 7FA, 9FA 9E, 9EC and
6B machines.

N-155 Nozzles
N-155, also referred to as Multimet, is an ironbased alloy
chemically similar to the S-590 used in early bucket
applications. It is more readily available, possesses
better weldability than S- 590 and is used in the latterstage nozzles of the MS3000 and MS5000 series of

Future Nozzle Materials and

FSX-414 nozzle material has been extremely successful since the 1960s.
However, because of the continuous increase in turbine operating temperatures,
developmental programs have been initiated to bring advanced nozzle alloys into
commercial production. The first of these programs resulted in the introduction of
GTD- 222 for latter-stage nozzles. In the stage 2 nozzle application, GTD-222 is
coated with an aluminide coating to provide added oxidation resistance to this
component. Another program is directed toward the evaluation and modification
of currently used Aircraft Engine alloys with improved high-temperature strength
and high temperature oxidation resistance.

Combustion Hardware
The combustion system is a multiple-chamber assembly composed of three basic parts:
the fuel injection system, the cylindrical combustion liner and the transition piece.
Driven by the ever-increasing firing temperatures of the gas turbines and the need for
improved emissions control, significant development efforts are being made to advance
the combustion hardware of heavy-duty gas turbines. The primary basis for the material
changes that have occurred has been increased high temperature creep rupture strength.
These material changes had to be done while maintaining satisfactory
oxidation/corrosion resistance. An indication of the strength improvement is shown in
Figure, which compares the creep rupture strength of the three material classes now in
use. Nimonic 263, the most recently introduced alloy, is some 250F/140C stronger
than the original AISI 309 stainless steel. Hastelloy-X, which was used in the 1960s
through the early 1980s, is intermediate in strength between the two


Alloy 706 Nickel-Base Alloy

This nickel-based, precipitation-hardened alloy is the newest to be used in turbine

wheel application. It is the 7FA, 9FA, 6FA and 9EC turbine wheel and spacer alloy,
and it offers a very significant increase in stress rupture and tensile yield strength
compared to the other wheel alloys. (See Figures.) This alloy is similar to Alloy
718, an alloy that has been used for wheels in aircraft turbines for more than 20
years. Alloy 706 contains somewhat lower concentrations of alloying elements than
Alloy 718, and is there-fore possible to produce in the very large ingot sizes needed
for the large 7FA and 9FA wheel and spacer forgings. (See Figure 27.)

Other Rotor Components

All of the other rotor parts are individually forged. This includes compressor
wheels, spacers, distance pieces and stub shafts. All are made from quenched and
tempered low-alloy steels (CrMoV or NiCrMoV) with the material and heat
treatment optimized for the specific part. The intent is to achieve the best balance of
strength, toughness/ductility, processing and non-destructive evaluation capability,
particularly when it is recognized that some of these parts may be exposed to
operating temperatures as low as -60F/-51C. All parts are sonic and magnetic
particle tested. Many last-stage compressor wheels are spun in a manner analogous
to turbine wheels as a means of proof testing and imparting bore residual stresses.
This last-stage compressor steel is probably the next most critical rotor component
after the turbine wheels.

For all models except the F-technology machines, the entire "tube" surrounding
the gas turbine rotor is composed of a series of cast iron castings bolted together
end-to-end. The castings (inlet and compressor) at the forward end of the
machines are made of gray iron, while those at the aft end (discharge and turbine
shell) are generally made of ductile iron or, in some, steel castings or fabrications.
The excellent castability and machinability offered by cast iron makes it the
obvious choice for these somewhat complex parts that have close tolerances. Cast
iron is less prone to hot tears and shrinkage problems than cast steel. Experience
has also shown it to provide a higher degree of dimensional stability during shop
processing. Although stress is important in determining which of the two types of
cast iron (gray or ductile) is used in the castings, operating temperature is of prime

Gray iron is generally limited to applications where temperatures do not exceed

450F/239C, ductile iron to applications no greater than 650F/343C. In the case
of gray iron, GE uses a type that has a minimum tensile strength of 30 ksi (2.1
kg/cm2 x 10-3), similar to ASTMA48, Class 30. Ductile iron, on the other hand, is a
ferritic type [60 ksi (4.2 kg/cm2 x 103) TS, 40 ksi (2.8 kg/cm2 x 103) YS, 18%
E1], similar to ASTM-A395. The 7FA and 9F machines utilize ductile iron for the
inlet and compressor casing and a fabricated CrMo steel combustion wrapper and
turbine shell. More recently, cast 2 1/4 Cr - 1Mo steel is being introduced into the Ftechnology machines for the combustion wrapper and turbine shells.

Future Materials
Advances in ductile iron have been made in laboratory trial castings that will enable this
material to be extended to higher temperature applications. These trial heats have shown
the capability to extend the useful temperature of this material by 100F/56C. This
development program is now in the Rainbow field trial phase and will most likely find
application in advanced and uprated GE gas turbines. Additional Sand Castings .
In addition to the casings, several other large omponents, such as bearing housings,
inner barrels, upport rings and diaphragms in the stator section of the urbine, are
produced from sand castings. Cast iron is again used where possible; however, where
higher temperature or planned welding is encountered, steel is employed. For example,
Cr-Mo- V has been used for support rings where temperatures reach 1000F/538C, and
carbon steel has been used for bearing housings requiring weld fabrication.