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Advanced ceramic applications set to take-off in the aerospace industry

7th March 2017
Joe Bush


The demands that are placed on the aerospace industry are only set to increase in line with the rise in passengers and cargo. As such, the use of ceramics will become key, and the technology will take centre stage at the Ceramics Expo and Conference, taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, on 25th-27th April.

As billions more miles are added to aerospace and space travel, there’s an unprecedented necessity for the raft of current technical advances to be built upon. Boeing predicted last year that accommodating the huge increase in passengers and cargo will require 39,620 new airplanes in the next 20 years, at a cost of $5.93tn.

The success of this sector is inextricably linked to ceramics. They contribute much lighter weight, good strength, very high heat capabilities and strong resistance to wear and corrosion. They also provide excellent insulating properties for a number of components. Investment in ceramics for aerospace is at an all-time high, and with good reason. One recent industry estimate, for example, is that there are future potential savings of $1m per aero engine through the use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).

Anyone involved in civil or defence aerospace, aviation R&D, space travel, exploration and advanced vehicles and propulsion systems, the free-to-attend Ceramics Expo 2017 is the place to be at the end of April.

Dr Shay Harrison from Free Form Fibers commented: “The development of robust CMC material systems that can withstand the extreme temperature and oxidising environments in both aviation and aerospace platforms for next generation vehicles is a key technology focus. Solving the challenges for reliable CMCs in jet engines will require materials-focused advances in manufacturing, part processing and assessment tools. Similarly, the progress from single use application of exposed aerospace components to multiple-cycle endurance will propel the technical and economic advances in spaceflight.”

Running alongside the expo, there will be the Conference @ Ceramics Expo, a free-to-attend event organised in a twin-track format, offering three days of presentations. The first day will feature strands on ‘Developing Industry Standards for CMC Applications’, ‘Optimizing Ceramic Coating Quality to Improve Reliability’, ‘Evaluating Design Approach for Reliable Ceramic Coatings’ and ‘Developing CMC Manufacturing Processes to Support CMC Adoption’. The speaker roster includes experts from Free Form Fibers, Ceramco, Pratt & Whitney, NASA, 3D Ceram, Morgan Advanced Materials and Oerlikon Metco.

Some of the companies exhibiting on the show floor include:

Bullen: booth 241
Bullen Ultrasonics recently achieved AS9100 certification, recognising its role in machining CMC components for the aerospace industry.

Ceramtec: booth 923
CeramTec North America was also successful in gaining AS9100 - new products will come from the Laurens, SC facility as aerospace business is expanded.

Cleveland Vibrator: booth 500
Cleveland Electric Laboratories supports turbine engine manufacturers needing to perform extensive testing for new designs. It fabricates speciality temperature and pressure probes, performs modification machining of customer components and installs temperature, pressure and strain gauges.

Poco Graphite: booth 901
The POCO family of aerospace graphite and ceramics is being used in tribological and structural applications in the core of next-generation engines: bushings, washers, bumpers, guide rings and seals operating up to 1,200°F (650°C).

Ceramco: booth 409
Ceramco provides precision manufactured ceramic fasteners.

Materion: booth 443
Materion Ceramics has refractory coatings that protect leading edge surfaces such as turbine blades and nose cones. Also, its temperature- and abrasion-resistant tiles shield spacecraft upon atmospheric re-entry.

Free From Fibers: booth 1140
Free Form Fibers has developed the capability to fabricate silicon carbide fibres for CMCs to use in hot section components in turbines.

Prematech: booth 509
PremaTech Advanced Ceramics makes ceramic parts for fighter jets, space systems, tactical missiles, jet engines and satellite communication systems.

Superior Technical Ceramics: booth 418
Superior Technical Ceramics includes ceramics for instrumentation, control, engine monitoring, guidance, optics and turbine ignition systems.

EMD Performance materials: booth 1040
A range of aircraft exteriors are provided by effect pigments from EMD Performance Materials, which offers a range of styling options to manufacturers of aerospace paints and coatings, combining colour intensity with excellent weathering durability

Corning: booth 532
Corning’s fused silica has formed the windows for all of the manned spacecraft in US history. Its speciality glass-ceramic materials were chosen for missile nose cones.

Elan Technology: booth 538
Advanced glass materials from Elan Technology play an integral role in aviation and avionics sensors. The company develops materials that can withstand harsh conditions while maintaining reliability and accuracy. Brakes, flaps, fuel components and hydraulic sensors all incorporate Elan’s glass materials.

IMR Test Labs: booth 934
IMR Test Labs verifies, analyses and tests. It has experience with reciprocating and turbine engine components/materials, airframe materials and thermal spray coatings.

Engis Corp: booth 917
Lapping, polishing, grinding and bore honing solutions are offered by Engis Corp. It offers superabrasive finishing solutions to the aerospace industry, with a range of processes for jet engines, airframes and landing gear.

Ferro Ceramic: booth 112
Specialist precision services are available from Ferro-Ceramic Grinding.

ExOne: booth 326
ExOne promotes 3D printing for large, complex parts, and also printed sand molds and cores for prototype and production castings. Build sizes for these currently go up 70 x 39 x 29” (1,800 x 1,000 x 700mm)

View the full exhibitor list here.
Register for your free pass here

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