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University of Pittsburgh engineers receive funding for AM gas turbine research

University of Pittsburgh engineers receive funding for AM gas turbine research
Xiayun Zhao, PhD (left) and Albert To, PhD, hold up a metal additively manufactured turbine component in the lab at Swanson School of Engineering (Courtesy University of Pittsburgh)

The U.S. Department of Energy, through its University
Turbine Systems Research programme, has awarded $802,400 to researchers
at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, USA, to support research on an effective quality assurance method
for the metal Additive Manufacturing of new-generation gas turbine components.

The three-year project received additional funding of
$200,600 from the University of Pittsburgh, resulting in a total grant amount
of $1,003,000.

Xiayun (Sharon) Zhao, PhD, Assistant Professor of Mechanical
Engineering and Materials Science at Pittsburgh, will lead the research,
working with Albert To, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and
Materials Science at Pittsburgh, and Richard W Neu, a Professor in the Georgia
Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia, USA. 

The team will reportedly use machine learning to develop a
cost-effective method for rapidly evaluating, either in-process or offline, hot
gas path turbine components (HGPTCs) created with Laser Powder Bed Fusion
(L-PBF) Additive Manufacturing technology. Dr Zhao explained, “L-PBF AM is
capable of making complex metal components with reduced cost of material and
time. There is a desire to employ the appealing AM technology to fabricate
sophisticated HGPTCs that can withstand higher working temperature for
next-generation turbines.”

“However, because there’s a possibility that the
components will have porous defects and be prone to detrimental thermomechanical
fatigue, it’s critical to have a good quality assurance method before putting
them to use,” she continued. “The quality assurance framework we are
developing will immensely reduce the cost of testing and quality control and
enhance confidence in adopting the L-PBF process to fabricate demanding
HGPTCs.”

Ansys, an engineering simulation and design software
developer based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, will serve as an industrial
partner on the project.

www.pitt.edu

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