Jet engines need cutting-edge materials that are strong, light and can withstand extreme heat. GE is developing a material that can handle high temperatures like ceramics can and is also as tough as metal. Here, a projectile fired at a sample of advanced ceramic composite tests the material’s ability to endure the strike.
Ceramics are well known for their tendency to fail in a brittle, catastrophic fashion (think window glass or china dinnerware). GE scientists are working to develop ceramic matrix composite materials that combine high temperature resistance with mechanical toughness.
For next-generation jet engines, adding these advanced lightweight ceramics could have a significant impact on an engine’s energy efficiency through reduced fuel costs and lower emissions. The trick is to take a brittle material and make it virtually unbreakable. As you can see, researchers are on their way.