Advanced Process Schemes for Improvement of the Dimensional Stability of Ceramic Matrix Composites
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-148
Topic Title: Advanced Process Schemes for Improvement of the Dimensional Stability of Ceramic Matrix Composites
Proposal No.: N082-148-0963
Firm: Synterials, Inc
318 Victory Drive
Herndon, Virginia 20170
Contact: Alan Grieve
Phone: (703) 471-9310
Abstract: Ceramic matrix composites (CMC) are being developed for turbine engine exhaust structures on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and other advanced military platforms. One of the primary candidate material systems for manufacturing components in the exhaust structure is a polymer-derived matrix composite that uses a silicon carbide based fiber reinforcement. These CMC components can be complex shapes that require very precise dimensional tolerances. Deviations from as-molded and machined dimensions as a result of thermal excursions during processing can result in rejected parts. The aim of this program is to develop a modified processing scheme that will eliminate this particular problem. In order to achieve this goal, we will focus on the conditioning of the fiber reinforcement. Precise control of the thermal history of the reinforcement will result in improved dimensional stability. As a provider of interface coatings used in this type of ceramic composite, we will also investigate the effects of applying the interface coating before and after conditioning of the fiber reinforcement. The addition of this conditioning process step is expected to both reduce costs (as a result of higher yield) and improve the lifetime of the part.
Benefits: There is an immediate need for advanced composite materials with improved high temperature performance in a myriad of defense systems, particularly in the areas of advanced gas turbine engine development. While ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) remain something of a niche market, it is one that is well served by small to medium size companies with both development and manufacturing capability. The demand for these advanced materials will continue to increase. If the cost and reliability of CMCs can be further reduced, there exists of whole range of potential applications in the commercial aircraft sector also.