Honors Gallery

2009 CF8C-Plus: new cast stainless steel for high-temperature performance Southeast

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2009

Award Type:

Region: Southeast

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

CF8C-Plus is a low-cost, high-performance cast stainless steel. Its development was driven by the need for more performance and reliability in high-temperature exhaust components for advanced diesel and indus-trial gas turbine applications. The technol-ogy—developed by a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with Caterpillar, Inc.—is seen as being able to bridge the gap between cast iron, steel, and nickel-based superalloys to provide cost-effective per-formance and reliability upgrades for many applications, including advanced diesel en-gine and industrial gas turbine combustor or support components. Advanced diesels, which achieve higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions, push exhaust temperatures higher than what the current exhaust manifolds and turbocharg-er casings, which are made from cast iron, can withstand. Similarly, advanced industrial gas turbines, whose components are cast or wrought from stainless steel, are being op-erated at increased exhaust temperatures for better efficiency and lower emissions; at those temperatures, the capabilities of the standard steels are exceeded. Both the die-sel engine and gas turbine applications ben-efit tremendously from CF8C-Plus because it significantly improves high-temperature performance at similar cost. It has much more high-temperature strength and greater resistance to aging, fatigue, and thermal fa-tigue than standard or comparable premium grades of stainless steels and alloys. Thus far, the CF8C-Plus units installed on Caterpillar diesel engines have generated about $5.6 million in revenue, with a poten-tial for a hundredfold revenue increase for fu-ture use in general automotive applications. In addition to its involvement with Caterpillar, ORNL is also partnering with Honeywell to test the technology for a turbocharger hous-ing application. CF8C-Plus won an R&D 100 Award in 2003.