NUST MISIS Stationary Blades to Reduce Total Aircraft Weight

NUST MISIS scientists in conjunction with scientists from Ufa State Aviation Technical University (USATU) developed innovative stationary blades for aircraft engines. These blades will be used in civil aviation to improve operational characteristics of engines, reduce total aircraft weight and lower fuel consumption.

Currently, aircraft engineers and materials scientists worldwide are dealing with two imperative tasks: how to reduce total aircraft weight and how to increase specific strength of aircraft materials. At the request of JSC UFA Engine Industrial Association (UMPO in Russian), a group of scientists from NUST MISIS and USATU set to work on these tasks and developed a new generation of stationary blades for gas turbine aircraft engines.

This is the first time that stationary blades have been cast from titanium aluminide alloys in Russia. It is technically challenging to make a workpiece from intermetallic titanium alloys because they have no plasticity when transitioning from liquid to solid state. The specialists successfully found the necessary ratio of alloy components, determined the optimum casting temperature, designed a sprue, calculated its parameters and eliminated resistance of the mold to shrinkage during solidification. The stationary blades were developed for aircraft engines’ turbines of high and low pressures. Made from intermetallic titanium alloys, they are twice as light as the nickel-based analogs that are currently being used in aviation.

As the turbine is equipped with a very large number of stationary blades, transition to the new technology will significantly reduce the weight of the engine. Reduction of total aircraft weight will allow aircraft to carry more passengers or cargo over long distances. In addition, the new blade production technology will significantly reduce effective centrifugal stress in the compressor and turbines of aircraft engines, as well as lower the inertia of turbines and compressors. All these factors will improve operational characteristics of aircraft engines, reduce specific fuel consumption and consequently reduce emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

“Today, production of workpieces from titanium aluminide alloys is in great demand by civil aviation. Our technology is on equal footing with its analogs from both Europe and the USA. It is also very important that it is a completely Russian technology — the stationary blades can be produced on domestic equipment and made from domestic materials”, said Professor Vladimir Belov, head of the research team, Director of the NUST MISIS Engineering Center of Foundry Technologies and Materials.

The scientists have been developing this new technology for three years and still continue to work on it. However, they have already patented it in Russia. The newly developed technology has been put into operation at JSC UFA Engine Industrial Association (UMPO in Russian). The stationary blades made from intermetallic titanium alloys are expected to be used in the new Russian engine PD 14. This engine will be installed on the Irkut MC-21 (formerly known as MS-21), a short to mid-range Russian passenger jet airliner.

“The uniqueness of the developed technology is that it is fully import — substituting: it allows developing new generation stationary blades for aircraft engines from the domestic raw materials and on the Russian equipment. The research team led by professor Vladimir Belov develop technologies and materials for the aerospace industry, including Irkut MC-21`s PD-14. Thus, in February 2016, Vyacheslav Bazhenov received the Moscow Government Award for the development of a new technology for producing molded titanium alloy components by casting them in a graphite mold made by milling”, said Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS.