New research project develops modern superalloys

A successful pre-study with promising results at the School of Engineering now turns into a full-scale research project. The aim? To develop new superalloys with an improved heat resistance and strength.

In industries such as aerospace, transportation and energy, there has long been a need for high performing and durable metallic alloys that can withstand harsh conditions without the need for frequent service.

In the new project ALigHT II at the School of Engineering, researchers and their industry partners will develop existing superalloys to make them mechanically even more stable at higher temperatures. This is an important characteristic for components used in demanding applications, for example aero planes or power plants.

– Conventional superalloys are relatively strong up to a certain temperature, but at higher temperatures the mechanical strength drops significantly. By using novel techniques such as high entropy alloys, we may be able to develop modern alloys that can be used in significantly higher temperatures than today, e.g. above 700-800 degrees centigrade for nickel-based superalloys, says Ehsan Ghassemali, Acting Assistant Professor in materials and manufacturing at the School of Engineering, who leads the project.

High entropy alloys (HEAs) are a new type of advanced metal alloys, which have outstanding thermomechanical properties and high chemical resistance in harsh environments. This has made the HEAs one of the best candidates for strategically demanding applications in the energy, transport and aerospace sectors.

Within the project, a simplified demonstrator will be manufactured to show the industrial opportunities and the potential with this kind of alloys.

– We are looking forward to continuing our successful collaboration with our industry partners Sandvik Materials Technology, GKN Aerospace Sweden, Swerea KIMAB and Chalmers University of Technology, who all took part also in the pre-study project (ALigHT), not only in ALigHT II but also in a longer perspective, says Ehsan Ghassemali.