Aurora Gets Grant to Research Fabrication for Complex Ceramic Engine Components
Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) are seeing more us these days in aerospace, replacing the nickel, chromium and titanium alloys historically used in high-temperature zones like rocket motors and turbine engine hot exhaust areas. In addition to their thermal protection, they can offer weight reductions of up to 50%. The GE/Rolls Royce F136 engine that serves as the F-35 Lightning II‘s “second engine” program uses Silicon Carbide CMCs, and the material is even being considered for naval and aircraft structures.
Aurora Flight Sciences recently announced that the company has received a grant from the West Virginia High Technology Consortium and NASA for the development of Laser Assisted Machining of Silicon Carbide Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) for Space Propulsion Structures…
Aurora Flight Sciences President and CEO John Langford:
“This program will develop a technology to significantly reduce the manufacturing time currently associated with final machining of CMC components as well as allow the fabrication of complex geometry components that cannot be fabricated using current technologies such as grinding. If proven successful, this program would provide Aurora with a highly desirable sole source technology capable of fabricating complex components at significantly reduced costs as well as open new doors into the space propulsion and turbine engine markets.”
The program will develop a variety of characteristic features to be installed into CMC substrates, and be representative of those found in many space propulsion and turbine engine structures. Additionally, Aurora will perform physical testing of the fabricated components to determine the effects of laser assisted machining. The laser assisted machining process will be performed by heating the surface of the material to approximately 1,000F degrees with a laser just prior to the removal with advanced cutting tool.
Aurora Flight Sciences will be assisted by Kansas State University and GE Aviation. Aurora release.