The performance of Superalloys


  • Dr. Tom B. Gibbons

    1. Division of Materials Metrology, National Physical Laboratory Teddington TW11 OLW (UK)
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    • is Head of the High-Temperature Materials and Corrosion Branch of the Materials Metrology Division of the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, England. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1959 and after research on desulfuization in the iron blast furnace he received his Ph.D. from the same University in 1963. Thereafter he joined the then Metallurgy Divsion of NPL and worked initially on the creep performance of superalloys. He has published approximately fifty research papers on this and related topics and was appointed to his present position in 1978. He become a UK member of the Management Committee of COST 50 in 1977 and was the Chairman of the Management Committee of COST 505. In 1987 he succeeded Professor H. Fischmeitster as Chairman of the Management Committee of COST 501.

  • Colleagues in the materials metrology division at NPL and in the cost 501 project have had an important influence on the content of the paper. Dr. B. F Dyson and M. S., Lotveday have provided unpublished data on the creep of notched testpieces and Dr. S. R. J. Sounders has made helpful comments on the manuscript.


Hot-end components in today's aero turbofan engines are made from materials known as superalloys, typically based on Ni[BOND]Cr, Ni[BOND]Cr[BOND]Fe or Co[BOND]Cr systems. In the fifty years or so that have elapsed since the first superalloys were introduced, the temperature capability of the materials has increased by approximately 500° and the power output of aero gas turbines has risen from ∼ 20 kN of thrust to the 250 kN achievable today. The materials and their development are described.