Researchers at The Ohio State University found a way to improve the high-temperature properties of superalloys used in jet engines. The method tailors an alloy’s composition and exposes it to high heat and pressure to prevent microscopic defects from forming, actually making the alloy stronger. This “phase transformation strengthening” eliminates the formation of defects and decreases alloy deformation by half. When an engine can run at very high temperatures, it consumes its fuel more thoroughly and produces lower emissions.

The researchers combined atomic-level imaging and high-end computing to study phase transformation strengthening to see if tailoring the alloy compositions in different ways might enhance the effect.