UK-based Rolls-Royce has purchased the rights to a new coating process for turbine blades that could improve performance and durability. Created by researchers at Iowa State University, the coating, based on a composition of platinum, nickel, aluminum and hafnium, improves the durability and reliability of ceramic heat barriers that are applied over the bond coat, said co-creator Daniel Sordelet, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory on the Iowa State campus. He said the formula grew out of basic research that began about seven years ago and was funded by the Office of Naval Research.
The coating, which won a prestigious engineering award in 2005, represents a remarkably quick translation from fundamental science to practical application, according to Dr. William Brindley, Rolls-Royce’s chief technologist. The engine maker will have exclusive license for the life of the patents covering the coating and a cost-effective method for applying it to engine parts.