2013 R&D 100 Winner
BlackGoldDuring aircraft operation, gas turbine engines are continuously exposed to erosive materials that can damage engine parts. Coatings help protect wear components, and the advent of nanostructured materials has led to further improvements. MDS Coatings Technology Corp. (MCT) has introduced an erosion-resistant nanocoating material and application process that significantly reduces damage to compressor airfoils. Called BlackGold, the micrometers-thick ceramic-metallic coating is applied using a physical vapor deposition technique that offers control of multiple nanoscale properties, including hardness and adhesion.

MCT teamed with scientists and engineers at Delta Air Lines and National Energy Technology Laboratory to achieve Federal Aviation Authority certification. In addition to improving aerofoil lifetime, BlackGold is expected to reduce fuel consumption by an average of 0.5% during typical engine operation cycles.

Erosion-resistant nanocoating material

MDS Coating Technology Corp.
Delta Air Lines
National Energy Technology Laboratory

Development Team

MDS Coating Technology Corp.'s BlackGold development team (l-r): Phil Rodger, Hans Odoerfer, Marcio Duffles.


Cindy Powell, National Energy Technology Laboratory John Robertson, Delta Air Lines Renzo Ninomiya, Delta Air Lines


The BlackGold Development Team
Phil Rodger, Principal Developer, MDS Coating Technology Corp.
David Alman, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Marcio Duffles, MDS Coating Technology Corp.
Simon Durham, MDS Coating Technology Corp.
Steven Guetre, MDS Coating Technology Corp.
Jean-Pierre Huot, MDS Coating Technology Corp.
Renzo Ninomiya, Delta Air Lines
Cynthia Powell, National Energy Technology Laboratory