Siemens has achieved a breakthrough by finishing its first full load engine tests for gas turbine blades completely produced using Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology. The company successfully validated multiple AM printed turbine blades with a conventional blade design at full engine conditions. The components were tested at 13,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures beyond 1,250 degrees Celsius. Siemens tested a new blade design with a improved internal cooling geometry manufactured using the AM technology. The blades were manufactured at Siemens 3D printing facility at Materials Solutions.
The blades were installed in a Siemens SGT-400 industrial gas turbine with a capacity of 13 megawatts (MW). The AM turbine blades are made out of a powder of high performing polycrystalline nickel superalloy, allowing them to endure high pressure, hot temperatures and the rotational forces of the turbine’s high speed operation. At full load each of these turbine blades is travelling at over 1,600 km/h, carrying 11 tons, equivalent to a fully loaded London bus, is surrounded by gas at 1,250 °C and cooled by air at over 400 °C. The advanced blade design provides improved cooling features that can increase overall efficiency of the Siemens gas turbines.