Possibly the most dynamic metalcasting market niche is investment casting of turbine engine components — blades, blisks, and vanes — which has benefited not only from sustained demand from the aerospace and industrial gas engine market, but has advanced significantly on its own developments in materials science, product design, and process control. But even manufacturers soaring in that high-value atmosphere will find the need to lift their products’ performance.

Innovnano is a Portuguese developer and manufacturer of high-performance ceramic powder that has produced a coating material capable of withstanding extreme temperature variations. The high-purity 4YSZ (4 mol% yttria-stabilized zirconia) formulation has significance as a thermal barrier for aerospace turbine engine components. Due to its low thermal conductivity only a very thin application is needed for an effective thermal coating, thereby ensuring that the weight of individual components of the rotating turbines is kept to a minimum.

The developer is a subsidiary of Companhia União Fabril (CUF), an industrial chemical company, and a specialty manufacturer of high-quality nanostructured zirconia-based powders and aluminum-zinc-oxide sputter coating targets. With its new, modular production center, Innovnano noted it can scale-up production to 1,000 metric tons/year to meet the growing industrial-scale demand for high-performance materials.

In addition to dedicated zirconia-based ceramic powder production, Innovnano custom manufactures zirconia-based powder products to clients’ individual specifications.  Customized, sub-micron powders are available in stable aqueous or ethanol-based suspensions for an emerging suspension plasma spray application, as well as spray-dried granules, with or without binder for optimal handling.