Preliminary investigation of zirconium boride ceramals for gas-turbine blade applications

Hoffman, Charles A.

Zirconium boride ZrB2 ceramals were investigated for possible gas-turbine-blade application. Included in the study were thermal shock evaluations of disks, preliminary turbine-blade operation, and observations of oxidation resistance. Thermal shock disks of the following three compositions were studied: (a) 97.5 percent ZrB2 plus 2.5 percent B by weight; (b) 92.5 percent ZrB2 plus 7.5 percent B by weight; and (c) 100 percent ZrB2. Thermal shock disks were quenched from temperatures of 1800 degrees, 2000 degrees, 2200 degrees, and 2400 degrees F. The life of turbine blades containing 93 percent ZrB2 plus 7 percent B by weight was determined in gas-turbine tests. The blades were run at approximately 1600 degrees F and 15,000 to 26,000 rpm. The thermal shock resistance of the 97.5 percent ZrB2 plus 2.5 percent boron ceramals compares favorably with that of TiC plus Co and TiC plus Ni ceramals. Oxidation of the disks during the thermal shock evaluation was slight for the comparatively short time (8.3 hr) up through 2000 degrees F. Oxidation of a specimen was severe, however, after 100 hours at 2000 degrees F. The turbine blade performance evaluation of the 93 percent ZrB2 plus 7 percent B composition was preliminary in scope ; no conclusions can be drawn.

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