Running Hot and Fast
In a breakthrough for the company, Siemens has produced gas turbine blades using only additive methods and successfully tested them under maximum operational conditions. It reports that the blades were subjected to up to 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures higher than 1,250 degrees (Celsius).
Siemens used both conventional blades and variants featuring a new design and internal cooling geometry that has been completely overhauled. According to the company, this design further improves the efficiency of its gas turbines.
»Additive Manufacturing is a pillar of our digitalization strategy,« says Willi Meixner, CEO of the Siemens Power and Gas Division. The blades were installed in a SGT-400 industrial gas turbine rated at 13 megawatts.
Manufactured by the recently acquired Siemens subsidiary Materials Solutions using a highly resistant superalloy based on polycrystalline nickel, the turbine blades are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, levels of pressure, and centrifugal force. At maximum speed, each blade spins at over 1,600 km/h and bears a load of around 11 tons.