Russia Tests 3D Printed Turbine Engine

  • “Russia has for the first time conducted flight tests of the MGTD-20 gas turbine engine made by 3D-printing.”
  • The production time of the main engine elements was reduced up to 20 times, while the cost of organizing production was reduced twice.
  • The bureau had its share of problems as well.

This month, Russia conducted the first demonstration flight, via an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), of its small-size gas turbine engine MGTD-20. The flight was successfully held at the base of Kazanbash aviation center, in the Republic of Tatarstan. The engine was manufactured by 3D-printing.

The All-Russian Institute Of Aviation Materials (VIAM) is a state research centre of the Russian Federation based in Moscow, Russia, established in 1932.

It is a joint project of the Foundation for Advanced Research and FSUE VIAM to develop new-generation materials for additive manufacturing of structural elements of aircraft and rocket engines that was launched in November 2015.

Within the framework of the project, a technology for manufacturing parts of MGTD and industrial gas turbine units was developed by selective laser fusion using domestic metal-powder compositions. A number of developed alloys exceed their foreign counterparts by more than 20% in strength characteristics.

Due to the new technology, the production time of the main engine elements was reduced up to 20 times, while the cost of organizing production was reduced twice.

The UAV is equipped with a domestic MGTD-125E engine, with the main parts made using additive technologies at the all-Russian research Institute of aviation materials (FSUE “VIAM”).

The power plant was developed by JSC NPO “Simonov Design Bureau” as part of a joint project Of the Foundation for advanced research, FSUE ” VIAM “and JSC NPO”Simonov Design Bureau.”

The flight was performed according to the approved flight task. Its duration was 19 minutes, the aircraft reached a maximum speed of 420 miles per hour at an altitude of more than two thousand meters.

The MGTD-125 is one of the most powerful in the line of small-sized engines developed under the project. With a mass of 48 pounds, the power plant develops a thrust of 275 pounds.

Details of the combustion chamber, nozzle apparatus, jet nozzle and inlet part are made using additive technologies from domestic metal-powder high-fire-resistant compositions of aluminum, nickel and cobalt alloys, developed by FSUE “VIAM.”

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a CAD model or a digital 3D model.

The gas turbine engine MGTD-20 is manufactured by selective laser fusion from domestic metal-powder compositions based on a full-cycle additive manufacturing facility, created at VIAM. To note, the bureau had its share of problems as well.

Two years ago,  Alexander Gomzin, the general director and chief designer for the OKB Simonov Design Bureau, was arrested on the charges of abuse of authority, misappropriation of budgetary funds and fraud. Hopefully, this project will not run into similar problems.

The power plant with a maximum thrust of 48 miles was developed as part of a joint project Of the Foundation for Advanced Research, FSUE VIAM, and JSC NPO Simonov Design Bureau.

In the course of the project, a line of promising small-size gas turbine engines in the 10, 20, 125 and 150 kilogram-force thrust class was developed, manufactured and tested.

The start of serial production of power plants is planned for 2021-2022, taking into account the completion of the stage of development work in the interests of the state defense order.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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