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I have seen that ceramics take a lot of heat to melt (3240º F). So, I'm wondering, why aren't ceramics used as the compressor levels in turbines? Is there something to do with the strain? or is ceramic too heavy? Is it something to do with the way the crystals align?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: What material is used to make the hot sections of jet engines?. Ceramic would be used in the hot section, not in the compressor section. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 21:22
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    $\begingroup$ And also Why are aircraft turbine blades made of nickel alloys?, and ceramic matrix composites. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ The exhaust area is not really heat limited, nickel or titanium alloys do just fine. Ceramic is brittle so not well suited in most applications. CMC is still fairly new and may make more cost sense in the future. There would typically not be any ignition in the compressor sections, but anywhere handling ignition gases, like the turbine, would be limited by heat and thus benefit from ceramics. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Nicholas there is a good reason all the experienced turbine manufacturers (and anyone who understands them) don't do combustion in the compressor. I suggest you go think why that is. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Commented Dec 9, 2016 at 8:00
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    $\begingroup$ @mins apologies, it's early here and brain hasn't fully engaged. $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    Commented Dec 10, 2016 at 10:08

2 Answers 2

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Ceramic materials are starting to be used in jet engines. E.g. the LEAP-1A is using a few ceramic matrix composite in the high pressure turbine. (http://aviationweek.com/mro/ceramic-composites-enter-service). Future designs will likely expand the use of CMCs (e.g. http://www.geaviation.com/press/ge90/ge90_20150303.html)

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These highly desirable properties of ceramics have as yet been largely disregarded, due to the perceived low toughness and brittle failure demonstrated by traditional ceramic strength.

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