Researchers at University West, Sweden, used nanoparticles to coat the metal components of the aircraft engine to form a layer of heat shield. This enabled the engine to withstand higher combustion temperature, thereby increasing efficiency and decreasing fuel consumption. This shield also helped to improve engine service life by 300%.
All the surface layers on aircraft engine and gas turbines have to be coated with a thermal barrier coating, using a method called thermal spray application. In this experiment a ceramic powder is sprayed onto a surface at a very high temperature - 7,000 to 8,000 degrees C, using a plasma stream. The ceramic particles melt and strike the surface, where they form a protective layer that is approximately half a millimeter thick. This very thin layer of coating helps to slow down the engine deterioration due to extreme temperature, thereby increasing service life.
The discovery holds the potential of greatly reducing the amount of expensive and time-consuming services, and fuel consumption for aircraft industry. The technology is also significantly cheaper than the conventional technology. All these translate to lower selling, operation and maintenance costs.