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Glenn’s SiC-SiC Composites Poised to Transform Aircraft Engines

Glenn’s technology enables improved aircraft engine performance

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has signed a nonexclusive commercial license with Ohio-based aeronautics engineering and manufacturing company Jetoptera, Inc. The company plans to use Glenn’s breakthrough SiC-SiC ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the engines and other propulsion system components of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and passenger aircraft. This license agreement will significantly increase the use of the Glenn-developed “Sylramic-iBN” SiC fiber, which forms the reinforcement of these CMCs.

Although SiC-SiC CMCs have been in use for some time, NASA and Department of Defense missions require CMCs that possess higher temperature capability, thermal conductivity, and structural capability that does not degrade rapidly with time at these higher temperatures. In comparison to current aero- propulsion engine materials, these advanced SiC-SiC CMCs will result in reduced engine weight, fuel consumption, and harmful emissions. In collaboration with ATK-COIC fiber manufacturer, Glenn’s Sylramic-iBN fiber begins with a low-cost, low-grade precursor fiber that is converted into a state-of-the-art, high-performance SiC fiber through high-temperature chemical processes. Due to greater resistance to creep, rupture, and oxidation, this fiber results in SiC-SiC CMCs that remain structurally operational up to 2700°F, which is at least 500°F higher than current metallic capability and 300°F higher than CMCs with other SiC fiber types.

Jetoptera, Inc. will benefit in several ways from this licensing agreement. Glenn’s technology enables new capabilities for aerospace materials, significantly increases tolerance for high-temperature operations, lowers overall aircraft weight (with resulting cost and environmental benefits), and increases performance. The next step for Jetoptera will be to leverage this capability to produce UAVs with unprecedented range, payload, and maneuverability.

If you want to learn more about licensing, or if you’re working on a technology with potential applications beyond a NASA mission, please contact Amy Hiltabidel (grc-techtransfer@mail.nasa.gov).

For more information on this technology, please visit: http://technology.grc.nasa.gov/patent/LEW-TOPS-25.