Compressor Airfoil Protective Coatings for Turbine Engine Fuel Efficiency

Mr. Greg Kilchenstein | Office of the Secretary of Defense (L&MR)



The objective of this project is to demonstrate potential fuel savings on fixed wing (transport and fighter aircraft) and ground vehicle weapon system platforms operating with an erosion-corrosion (E/C) resistant coating on compressor airfoils via model analysis, simulation/laboratory testing, and field service evaluation.

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Technology Description

The E/C resistant coating is a multilayer ceramic-metallic matrix that is applied in a vacuum via a cathodic arc, physical vapor deposition (CAPVD) process. Design elements in the coating allow it to survive in the austere environments of a gas turbine engine and withstand specific failure mechanisms. The E/C resistant coating applied to stainless steel compressor airfoils is the first coating known in the industry to successfully pass corrosion tests on a repeatable basis while effectively providing erosion protection. The coatings for the transport aircraft will undergo field service evaluations comparing the performance of coated engines to uncoated engines. The coating for tank engines will undergo a back-to-back engine sand ingestion test. Laboratory erosion testing followed by computer performance modeling comparisons of coated and uncoated engines will be conducted on the fixed-wing engine applications. The fighter, fixed-wing engine will rely solely on modeling and analyses based on field data to determine potential fuel savings for aircraft such as the F/A-18.

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This project will demonstrate E/C resistant coatings applied to gas turbine engine compressor airfoils that can decrease fuel consumption, lower carbon emissions, and decrease maintenance support requirements across fixed-wing and land-based weapon system platforms. Fuel savings ranging from 1% to 5%, a two-fold increase in time-on-wing, and a 5% to 10% decrease in carbon emissions can potentially be realized across these platforms. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2013)

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Mr. Greg Kilchenstein

Office of the Secretary of Defense (L&MR) MPP

Phone: 703-614-0862