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A serial gas turbine engine with 3D-printed combustion chamber was tested at university

14.04.2017, 16:48

Samara University scholars tested one of the key details of aviation gas turbine engine, i.e. combustion chamber “grown” with the help of 3D-printing. It was set and tested on a production model of a small gas turbine engine -8 (SGTE) used as an auxiliary power unit of aircraft -134. 
“We were the first in the country who made and tested the combustion chamber in natural SGTE. And we think that this is a breakthrough to create with the help of additive technologies a working component of a serial engine, though this is the first step of our big work,” Head of Additive Technologies Laboratory of Samara University Vitalii Smelov emphasized.
Tested combustion chambers as a component of a serial SGTE is one of the starting stages of the project on creation of a series of new gas turbine drives for energy units with capacity of 400 kW working on biofuel.  Serial engine -8 is used as a stand for the testing of created with 3D-printing main elements and components of the future demonstration engine.

Before “printing” a SGTE combustion chamber with 3D-printer employees of additive Technologies Laboratory of Institute of Engine and Power Plant Engineering of Samara University had done big preparatory work.
“To get articles corresponding to tough requirements of aviation we began with a big complex of experimental work on researching the characteristics of powders, research of mechanical parameters and metallographic research of the structure of synthesized models,” Vitalii Smelov explained.
The results of “grown” samples showed corresponding characteristics with the details got with the help of traditional technologies. The next stage was carrying of the experiments on production of a compressor made of a titanium alloy and turbine made of heat-resistant alloy for SGTE.  
It should be mentioned that while producing details of the future engine metal powders of home production are being used.
For reference
Project “Development of a complex of technologies for creation of a series of energy efficient and ecologically safe gas turbine drives for energy units with capacity of 400 kW” is being realised by the team of Strategical Academic Unit “Gas Turbine Engines Design and Manufacturing” (SAU-2) of Samara University in partnership with the leading enterprises of Engines Design and Manufacturing complex. 
Apart from research of possibilities of use of additive technologies while producing gas turbine engines the project presupposes the development of a principally new system of their projecting with the use of supercomputers. It will allow to model step by step working processes on a virtual model of the future engine, project new more perfect details and variants of components constructions and then to create them in metal with 3D-printing.
In essence research team of SAU-2 in collaboration with industrial partner JSC “Metallist-Samara” make a construction bureau of development and production of small gas turbine engines. By now the tasks of creation of production sites, assembly, balancing are solved. Boxes for experiments with the engine and its components are prepared. 
In the course of the project realisation in 2020 a demonstration model of a gas turbine drive with capacity of 250 kW. The developed series of gas turbine drives will allow in collaboration with industrial partners to create cheaper in comparison with the world analogues ecological complexes on production of heat and electric energy.
The technologies developed in the course of the project will allow to provide:
  • the reduction in 5-6 times of the period of construction preparation because of the application when projecting of a programme complex based on the use of a parameter virtual gas turbine prototype drive; 
  • high ecological safety as a result of application of microwhirl catalyst combustion chamber and biofuel produced in the processing plant of biological products; 
  • high energy efficiency due to multi-criteria optimisation of the working process of a gas turbine drive; 
  • reduction in 8-10 times of the period of gas turbine drive production as a result of usage of additive technologies;
  • essential reduction of the term of development due to verification of models of all processes and execution of virtual tests of gas turbine drive.
Russian and foreign production and research and Education Centres were partners of the project:
  • JSC "Kuznetsov” (Samara);
  • NPP “Sintez” (Samara);
  • CJSC “Samara Electrotechnical Plant” (Samara);
  • Lund University, Switzerland;
  • Carleton University (Ottowa, Canada);
  • Central Institute of Aviation Motors named after P.I. Baranov (CIAM); 
  • NCSR «Demokritos», Athens, Greece;
  • Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University;
  • Universität Stuttgart