Impacts of Superalloys on the Surface Quality of Additively Manufactured Channels

Thomas M. Corbett, Karen A. Thole, Daniel Ryan, Sudhakar Bollapragada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gas turbines feature many components that require superalloys capable of handling extreme thermal environments. Increasing the selection of materials available for these components is important to their use in these extremely high-temperature environments. This study investigated two recently developed materials intended to be used for additive manufacturing (AM), with one superalloy based on cobalt and the other on nickel. Sets of four test coupons were built using the materials, in addition to the commonly used Inconel-718, on multiple laser powder bed fusion machines. Several build conditions were varied between coupon sets, including coupon orientation, contour settings, and upskin and downskin treatment. Each set of test coupons featured four unique cooling designs to explore how different cooling technologies would be impacted by the variations in build conditions. After being built, coupons were computed tomography (CT) scanned to determine accuracy to design intent and quantify the surface roughness. The CT scans indicated that horizontally built test coupons had a significantly higher deviation from design intent and higher surface roughness than those built vertically. Results also indicated that the cobalt-based alloy consistently had a smoother surface quality with lower surface roughness compared to the nickel-based alloy. After geometric characterization, the cooling performance of the test coupons was measured experimentally. Pressure losses were found to correlate with increases in surface roughness; however, in some cases, the convective heat transfer did not increase proportionally to the pressure loss as a result of surface features significantly blocking the flow without proportionally increasing convective heat transfer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081003
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this