CMC Matrices Enabling Long Operational Lifetimes at Temperatures Above 2700F
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-074
Topic Title: CMC Matrices Enabling Long Operational Lifetimes at Temperatures Above 2700F
Proposal No.: N141-074-0574
Firm: Physical Sciences Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, Massachusetts 01810-1077
Contact: Frederick Lauten
Phone: (978) 689-0003
Web Site:
Abstract: Silicon Carbide based ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) offer the potential to fundamentally change the design and manufacture of gas turbines to significantly increase performance and fuel efficiency over current metal-based designs. Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) and the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB will develop and utilize Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) tools that will help us design and fabricate enhanced SiC-based matrices capable of long term operation at 2700F in the combustion environment. Our approach will build upon PSI's and UCSB's previously successful work in incorporating refractory and rare earth species into the SiC matrix to increase the CMC use temperatures and life-time capabilities by improving the protective oxide passivation layer that forms during use. We will realize near term benefits by creating physics based-materials and process models that qualitatively define methods of improving matrix properties and can feed into our development of ICME tools. In the Phase I program we will focus on performing experiments and developing models predicting the effect of phase distribution, grain size, chemical composition, matrix density, and surface flaws on the oxidation behavior of the CMC matrix. We will iteratively improve the CMC performance by optimizing the composition and characteristics of the additives.
Benefits: Improved matrices will enhance the long-term survival of SiCf/SiC CMCs at high temperatures in the presence of oxygen and water vapor. Use of CMC-based components will enable higher temperature operation of aircraft engines, reducing fuel consumption by 5%, will decrease air cooling requirements, reducing NOx emissions by 25%, and will improve overall engine efficiency. These factors will result in cost reductions of $400M/year for aircraft engine operation.