When used in industrial fans, radial impellers are exposed to high mechanical, thermal and medial loads. They are usually made of metal. At the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (ILK) of TU Dresden, researchers have now developed a radial fan impeller with a modular metal-fiber composite design . Because of its low mass, the load is significantly lower than with metal fan impellers. For the same reason and thanks to the high strength of the composite fiber material, scientists have been able to increase the speed of the impellers significantly. In initial centrifuging tests at the ILK, at a maximum rotational speed of 10,266 rpm a circumferential speed of 543 m/s was achieved – about twice as fast as the maximum speed of a comparable metal impeller. The researchers also point out that, with modern metal-fiber composite designs, fan impellers with multiple parts can be made, which cuts manufacturing costs and simplifies maintenance.
The project team around Prof. Maik Gude was awarded the AVK Innovation Prize by the Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe (Industrial Association for Reinforced Plastics) for the development at the International Composites Congress 2018 in Stuttgart.