Podcast Ep. #21 – Prof. Paul Withey on Single-Crystal Superalloys for Jet Engine Turbines


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Paul Withey is the Professor of Casting at the School of Metallurgy and Materials of the University of Birmingham, UK. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2018, Paul worked at Rolls Royce for 21 years developing new superalloys and manufacturing processes for gas turbine components. As an Engineering Associate Fellow, Paul was a member of a select group of the top 100 specialist engineers across all engineering disciplines within Rolls Royce, and in 2015, Paul and his team were awarded the highest technical award within Rolls-Royce; the Sir Henry Royce Award. Paul’s particular expertise lies in investment casting of aerospace metals, especially of high-temperature superalloys used in the hot turbine stages of modern jet engines. Throughout his career at Rolls-Royce, Paul has developed and optimised manufacturing processes for single-crystal turbine blades with a total of 14 patents to his name. Despite phenomenal advances in materials technology, a number of questions with regard to how the turbine blade shape, materials and process parameters interact remain unanswered, and these questions form the basis of Paul’s ongoing research. In this episode, Paul and I discuss: the unique differences between research in academia and industry what single-crystal superalloys are and how they are manufactured why single-crystal superalloys are a critical technology for modern jet engines and the research questions that Paul is currently trying to answer If you enjoy the Aerospace Engineering Podcast you can support it by leaving a review on iTunes or by supporting it directly on Patreon, where patrons of the podcast receive exclusive behind-the-scenes content and special episodes. Thanks a lot for listening! This episode of the Aerospace Engineering Podcast is brought to you by AnalySwift. Do you work in the design and analysis of aerospace structures and materials? If so, AnalySwift’s innovative engineering software SwiftComp may be the solution you’re seeking. Used either independently for virtual testing of aerospace composites or as a plugin to power conventional FEA codes, SwiftComp delivers the accuracy of 3D FEA in seconds instead of hours. A general-purpose multi-scale modelling program, SwiftComp provides an efficient and accurate tool for modelling aerospace structures and materials featuring anisotropy and heterogeneity. SwiftComp quickly calculates the complete set of effective properties needed for use in macroscopic structural analysis. It also accurately predicts local stresses and strains in the microstructure for predicting strengths. Find out how others in composites are saving time while improving accuracy, considering more design options, and arriving at the best solution more quickly. A no-cost Academic Partner Program is now available for eligible universities. For a free trial, visit analyswift.com. SwiftComp: Right results. Right away. This episode is also sponsored by StressEbook.com, which is an online hub for you if you are interested in aerospace stress engineering. StressEbook.com provides world-class engineering services and online courses on the stress analysis of aircraft structures, as well as a free ebook and blog. No matter if you’re a junior or senior structural analyst, stressEbook.com provides you with the skills and know-how to become a champion in your workplace. Selected Links from the Episode Paul Withey's research profile A brief history of single-crystal superalloys Turbines stresses and turbine blade materials Modelling video of grain selection manufacturing Video about Rolls Royce turbine blades

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