GE Aviation and Turbocoating SPA of Parma, Italy, have formed a 50/50 joint venture, called Advanced Ceramic Coatings, to provide thermal barrier coatings for ceramic matrix composite components (CMCs) used in jet engines to improve efficiency and fuel economy.
CMCs are made of silicon carbide ceramic fibers and ceramic matrix, and enhanced with proprietary coatings. With one-third the density of metal alloys, these ultra-lightweight CMCs reduce the overall engine weight.
Plus their high-temperature resistance properties enhance engine performance, durability, and fuel economy. CMCs are more heat resistant than metal alloys, allowing the diversion of less cooling air into an engine’s hot section. By using this cooling air instead in the engine flow path, an engine runs more efficiently at higher temperature.
Advanced Ceramic Coatings (ACC) will operate from a dedicated area of Turbocoating’s U.S. operation in Hickory, North Carolina. Advanced Ceramic Coatings will combine Turbocoating’s proprietary coatings technologies and industrial processes with GE Aviation’s coatings processes developed specifically for CMCs to focus on producing advanced coatings applied to GE’s high-temperature CMCs in the post-fabrication phase.
The joint venture expects to deliver its first coated components in late 2015.
GE expects the demand for CMCs in its engines to grow tenfold over the next decade.
In other efforts to improve the aviation industry’s environmental performance, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator 787 has begun flight testing more than 25 green technologies.