Cui, team working on DOE grant to develop materials for gas turbines
Bai Cui, associate professor of mechanical and materials engineering, is part of a research team that has earned a $700,000, 18-month Phase 1 Department of Energy Advance Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) ULTIMATE (Ultrahigh Temperature Impervious Materials Advancing Turbine Efficiency) grant.
ULTIMATE is a leading-edge DOE program to develop ultrahigh temperature materials for gas turbine use in the aviation and power generation industries. A total of $16 million in funding was announced for 17 research projects as part of Phase 1.
Cui's team, headquartered at West Virginia University and including collaborators from the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Advanced Manufacturing LLC, will develop a new class of ultra-high temperature Refractory Complex Concentrated Alloys-based Composites (RCCC) for high temperature applications such as combustion turbines used in the aerospace and energy industries. The RCCC will consist of Refractory Complex Concentrated Alloys (RCCA) mixed with nanosized particles of Refractory High Entropy Carbides, to increase RCCA strength to withstand extreme conditions.
The goal is to optimize the balance among strength, creep (deformation), density, and stability at 1300 °C (2372 °F), while maintaining ductility (malleability) once the alloy cools to room temperature. The research team will develop a specialty 3-D metal printing process to produce test coupons and real components such as turbine blades.
Cui's group, which includes research associate Fei Wang and graduate student Xin Chen, will use their expertise in materials for extreme environments when working at Nebraska's advanced manufacturing and high-temperature test facilities.