Rice University Researchers Create ‘Fuzzy’ Fibers

April 17 2017

Rice researchers create tough material for next generation of powerful engines. To stand up to the heat and pressure of next-generation rocket engines, the composite fibers used to make them should be fuzzy.

The Rice University laboratory of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, in collaboration with NASA, has developed “fuzzy fibers” of silicon carbide that act like Velcro and stand up to the punishment that materials experience in aerospace applications. The fibers strengthen composites used in advanced rocket engines that have to withstand temperatures up to 1,600 degrees Celsius (2,912 degrees Fahrenheit). The researchers hope their fuzzy fibers will upgrade the strong, light and heat-resistant silicon carbide fibers that, when put in ceramic composites, are being tested for robust nozzles and other parts in rocket engines. According to Amelia Hart, a Rice graduate student, the new materials should also make entire turbo engines significantly lighter. She said, “By switching to ceramic matrix composites, they could take out the cooling system and go to higher temperatures. Our material will allow the creation of larger, longer-lasting turbo jet engines that go to higher temperatures than ever before.”

For identifying growth opportunities for ceramics matrix composites in the global aerospace industry, please visit
http://www.lucintel.com/cmc_in_global_aerospace_market_2016.aspx

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