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Concept: Turbine


The ingestion of volcanic ash by jet engines is widely recognized as a potentially fatal hazard for aircraft operation. The high temperatures (1,200-2,000 °C) typical of jet engines exacerbate the impact of ash by provoking its melting and sticking to turbine parts. Estimation of this potential hazard is complicated by the fact that chemical composition, which affects the temperature at which volcanic ash becomes liquid, can vary widely amongst volcanoes. Here, based on experiments, we parameterize ash behaviour and develop a model to predict melting and sticking conditions for its global compositional range. The results of our experiments confirm that the common use of sand or dust proxy is wholly inadequate for the prediction of the behaviour of volcanic ash, leading to overestimates of sticking temperature and thus severe underestimates of the thermal hazard. Our model can be used to assess the deposition probability of volcanic ash in jet engines.

Concepts: Energy, Temperature, Liquid, Volcano, Internal combustion engine, Gas compressor, Jet engine, Turbine


Decades of research has been focused on improving the high-temperature properties of nickel-based superalloys, an essential class of materials used in the hot section of jet turbine engines, allowing increased engine efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions. Here we introduce a new ‘phase-transformation strengthening’ mechanism that resists high-temperature creep deformation in nickel-based superalloys, where specific alloying elements inhibit the deleterious deformation mode of nanotwinning at temperatures above 700 °C. Ultra-high-resolution structure and composition analysis via scanning transmission electron microscopy, combined with density functional theory calculations, reveals that a superalloy with higher concentrations of the elements titanium, tantalum and niobium encourage a shear-induced solid-state transformation from the γ' to η phase along stacking faults in γ' precipitates, which would normally be the precursors of deformation twins. This nanoscale η phase creates a low-energy structure that inhibits thickening of stacking faults into twins, leading to significant improvement in creep properties.

Concepts: Electron, Iron, Metallurgy, Titanium, Jet engine, Turbine, Engine, Gas turbine


Aircraft engines emit particulate matter (PM) that affects the air quality in the vicinity of airports and contributes to climate change. Non-volatile PM (nvPM) emissions from aircraft turbine engines depend on fuel aromatic content, which varies globally by several percent. It is uncertain how this variability will affect future nvPM emission regulations and emission inventories. Here we present black carbon (BC) mass and nvPM number emission indices (EIs) as a function of fuel aromatic content and thrust for an in-production aircraft gas turbine engine. The aromatics content was varied from 17.8 % (v/v) in the neat fuel (Jet A-1) to up to 23.6 % (v/v) by injecting two aromatic solvents into the engine fuel supply line. Fuel normalized BC mass and nvPM number EIs increased by up to 60% with increasing fuel aromatics content and decreasing engine thrust. The EIs also increased when fuel naphthalenes were changed from 0.78 % (v/v) to 1.18 % (v/v) while keeping the total aromatics constant. The EIs correlated best with fuel hydrogen mass content, leading to a simple model that could be used for correcting fuel effects in emission inventories and in future aircraft engine nvPM emission standards.

Concepts: Air pollution, Gas compressor, Jet engine, Turbine, Engine, Gas turbine, Turboprop, Aircraft engine


Worldwide, many countries aim at countering global climate change by promoting renewable energy. Yet, recent studies highlight that so-called green energy, such as wind energy, may come at environmental costs, for example when wind turbines kill birds and bats. Using miniaturized GPS loggers, we studied how an open-space foraging bat with high collision risk with wind turbines, the common noctule Nyctalus noctula (Schreber, 1774), interacts with wind turbines. We compared actual flight trajectories to correlated random walks to identify habitat variables explaining the movements of bats. Both sexes preferred wetlands but used conventionally managed cropland less than expected based on availability. During midsummer, females traversed the land on relatively long flight paths and repeatedly came close to wind turbines. Their flight heights above ground suggested a high risk of colliding with wind turbines. In contrast, males recorded in early summer commuted straight between roosts and foraging areas and overall flew lower than the operating range of most turbine blades, suggesting a lower collision risk. Flight heights of bats suggest that during summer the risk of collision with wind turbines was high for most studied bats at the majority of currently installed wind turbines. For siting of wind parks, preferred bat habitats and commuting routes should be identified and avoided.

Concepts: Energy, Weather, Renewable energy, Wind power, Turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Nyctalus


Wind energy has developed rapidly over the last two decades to become one of the most promising and economically viable sources of renewable energy. Although wind energy is claimed to provide clean renewable energy without any emissions during operation, but it is only one side of the coin. The blades, one of the most important components in the wind turbines, made with composite, are currently regarded as unrecyclable. With the first wave of early commercial wind turbine installations now approaching their end of life, the problem of blade disposal is just beginning to emerge as a significant factor for the future. This paper is aimed at discovering the magnitude of the wind turbine blade waste problem, looking not only at disposal but at all stages of a blade’s lifecycle. The first stage of the research, the subject of this paper, is to accurately estimate present and future wind turbine blade waste inventory using the most recent and most accurate data available. The result will provide a solid reference point to help the industry and policy makers to understand the size of potential environmental problem and to help to manage it better. This study starts by estimating the annual blade material usage with wind energy installed capacity and average blade weight. The effect of other waste contributing factors in the full lifecycle of wind turbine blades is then included, using industrial data from the manufacturing, testing and in-service stages. The research indicates that there will be 43 million tonnes of blade waste worldwide by 2050 with China possessing 40% of the waste, Europe 25%, the United States 16% and the rest of the world 19%.

Concepts: Energy, Renewable energy, Wind power, Turbine, Wind turbine, Windmill, Capacity factor, Éolienne Bollée


Self-crack-healing by oxidation of a pre-incorporated healing agent is an essential property of high-temperature structural ceramics for components with stringent safety requirements, such as turbine blades in aircraft engines. Here, we report a new approach for a self-healing design containing a 3D network of a healing activator, based on insight gained by clarifying the healing mechanism. We demonstrate that addition of a small amount of an activator, typically doped MnO localised on the fracture path, selected by appropriate thermodynamic calculation significantly accelerates healing by >6,000 times and significantly lowers the required reaction temperature. The activator on the fracture path exhibits rapid fracture-gap filling by generation of mobile supercooled melts, thus enabling efficient oxygen delivery to the healing agent. Furthermore, the activator promotes crystallisation of the melts and forms a mechanically strong healing oxide. We also clarified that the healing mechanism could be divided to the initial oxidation and additional two stages. Based on bone healing, we here named these stages as inflammation, repair, and remodelling stages, respectively. Our design strategy can be applied to develop new lightweight, self-healing ceramics suitable for use in high- or low-pressure turbine blades in aircraft engines.

Concepts: Oxide, Turbocharger, Gas compressor, Jet engine, Turbine, Engine, Aircraft engine, Water turbine


This communication reports for the first time the charging of a commercially available mobile phone, using Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) fed with real neat urine. The membrane-less MFCs were made out of ceramic material and employed plain carbon based electrodes.

Concepts: Battery, Silicon carbide, Mobile phone, Ceramic engineering, Microbial fuel cell, Base station, Push-button telephone, Turbine


Insight into the mechanical behaviour of nanomaterials under the extreme condition of very high deformation rates and to very large strains is needed to provide improved understanding for the development of new protective materials. Applications include protection against bullets for body armour, micrometeorites for satellites, and high-speed particle impact for jet engine turbine blades. Here we use a microscopic ballistic test to report the responses of periodic glassy-rubbery layered block-copolymer nanostructures to impact from hypervelocity micron-sized silica spheres. Entire deformation fields are experimentally visualized at an exceptionally high resolution (below 10 nm) and we discover how the microstructure dissipates the impact energy via layer kinking, layer compression, extreme chain conformational flattening, domain fragmentation and segmental mixing to form a liquid phase. Orientation-dependent experiments show that the dissipation can be enhanced by 30% by proper orientation of the layers.

Concepts: Nanomaterials, Layer, Materials science, OSI model, Jet engine, Turbine, Engine, Gas turbine


The mechanical behaviour of thermal barrier coatings in operation holds the key to understanding durability of jet engine turbine blades. Here we report the results from experiments that monitor strains in the layers of a coating subjected to thermal gradients and mechanical loads representing extreme engine environments. Hollow cylindrical specimens, with electron beam physical vapour deposited coatings, were tested with internal cooling and external heating under various controlled conditions. High-energy synchrotron X-ray measurements captured the in situ strain response through the depth of each layer, revealing the link between these conditions and the evolution of local strains. Results of this study demonstrate that variations in these conditions create corresponding trends in depth-resolved strains with the largest effects displayed at or near the interface with the bond coat. With larger temperature drops across the coating, significant strain gradients are seen, which can contribute to failure modes occurring within the layer adjacent to the interface.

Concepts: Electron, Diffraction, X-ray, X-ray crystallography, Gas compressor, Jet engine, Turbine, Gas turbine


The black guillemot Cepphus grylle has been identified as a species likely to interact with marine renewable energy devices, specifically tidal turbines, with the potential to experience negative impacts. This likelihood is primarily based on the species being a diving seabird, and an inshore, benthic forager often associating with tidal streams. These behavioural properties may bring them into contact with turbine blades, or make them susceptible to alterations to tidal current speed, and/or changes in benthic habitat structure. We examine the knowledge currently available to assess the potential impacts of tidal stream turbines on black guillemot ecology, highlight knowledge gaps and make recommendations for future research. The key ecological aspects investigated include: foraging movements, diving behaviour, seasonal distribution, other sources of disturbance and colony recovery. Relating to foraging behaviour, between studies there is heterogeneity in black guillemot habitat use in relation to season, tide, diurnal cycles, and bathymetry. Currently, there is also little knowledge regarding the benthic habitats associated with foraging. With respect to diving behaviour, there is currently no available research regarding how black guillemots orientate and manoeuvre within the water column. Black guillemots are considered to be a non-migratory species, however little is known about their winter foraging range and habitat. The effect of human disturbance on breeding habitat and the metapopulation responses to potential mortalities are unknown. It is clear further understanding of black guillemot foraging habitat and behaviour is needed to provide renewable energy developers with the knowledge to sustainably locate tidal turbines and mitigate their impacts.

Concepts: Energy, Foraging, Tide, Cepphus, Guillemots, Tidal power, Turbine, Guillemot