Rolls-Royce and NIMS study superalloys

Rolls-Royce is working with Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) to research the development of high-temperature superalloys for use in gas turbine engines.


The study will take place at the newly-opened Rolls-Royce Centre of Excellence for Aerospace Materials, which is based at NIMS’ Sengen site in Tsukuba, north of Tokyo. The agreement will see Rolls-Royce invest funds annually over an initial five-year period.


This is the first scientific research programme the company has directly funded in Japan, although Rolls-Royce has long-standing links with Japan in terms of product development and supply arrangements. Japan is also a market for products in the company’s aerospace, marine and energy sectors and Rolls-Royce has participated in previous JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) research programmes.


Increasing the temperature capabilities of materials operating in the hottest parts of a gas turbine improves fuel efficiency, which in turn reduces the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Relatively small rises in temperature capability can bring quite large gains in fuel efficiency, helping meet environmental targets for aircraft engines’ CO2 emissions.


Rolls-Royce has worked with NIMS for around 15 years, during which time they also collaborated with existing Rolls-Royce UTCs (University Technology Centres). Future work programmes include studying the physics of blade alloys with CambridgeUniversity, the castability of materials with BirminghamUniversity and coatings developments at CranfieldUniversity.