Making Engines Live Longer?

Princeton University scientists and engineers, funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, have found a way to extend the life of aircraft engines by zeroing in on the protective layer—called thermal barrier coatings (TBC)— that covers engine components. Through their research, the Princeton scientists have found that TBC thicken during engine use, giving the TBC only up to about 16,000 hours of useful thermal cycling before technicians must take an engine out of service to reapply the coatings or replace parts, costing both time and money. The scientists developed a new and much more stable coating, although it has yet to be heat tested.