June 7, 2002
Purdue materials engineer wins Navy awardWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Matthew Krane, an assistant professor of materials engineering at Purdue University, has won a Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research for his work aimed at reducing defects in alloys used in jet engines. Krane was one of 26 researchers out of 260 applicants nationwide to receive the award.
He will use the three-year, $370,000 grant for research to develop mathematical models that may ultimately result in tools for industry to prevent defects in high-performance alloys critical for gas turbine engines. Defects form in the nickel "superalloys" as they solidify into ingots in a process called electroslag remelting.
Not all of the alloy's components solidify at the same rate. As some elements solidify faster than others, it can result in regions within a solid ingot that are more brittle than other regions. These brittle portions of the alloy cause the metal to crack and fail under conditions of high stress when it is being mechanically formed into parts for jet engines.
The larger the ingot, the greater the likelihood of defects. Because using larger ingots to make engine parts reduces the overall production costs, manufacturers are trying to prevent the formation of defects in solidifying alloys.
"The Navy is interested in making less expensive, more reliable gas turbine engines for aerospace applications," Krane said.
His research team will develop mathematical models based on data from industry.
"If we can predict the processing conditions under which defects form, then we have a tool for preventing these defects," he said. "Once we can do that with some reliability, we will be able to advise companies on ways to speed up the manufacturing process and make ingots with larger diameters without defects."
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