Advanced materials for green aviation

Authored by: Ajay Misra

Green Aviation: Reduction of Environmental Impact Through Aircraft Technology and Alternative Fuels

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9780415620987
eBook ISBN: 9780203119969
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the years materials advances have enabled a significant reduction in aircraft weight and an increase in the efficiency of gas turbine engines, both of which have contributed toward reducing fuel burn and emissions. It is expected that continuing advances in new materials will enable new aircraft and propulsion systems with significantly reduced weight and higher efficiency to meet future green aviation needs. This chapter provides an overview of various advanced materials that are under development for future aviation. There will be increasing use of composite materials in aircraft, with expanded use of polymer matrix composites (PMCs) in aircraft structures and in the cold sections of gas turbine engines, and with ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) replacing Ni-base superalloys in the hot section of gas turbine engines. The development of carbon nanotube (CNT) fibers with significantly higher strength than carbon fibers will lead to a new class of high-strength PMCs with superior strength. Ultra-lightweight cores based on ordered hierarchical cellular materials for sandwich structures will contribute to further weight reduction. Materials with a combination of load-bearing and other functional properties, along with innovative fabrication methods, will be used create multifunctional structures that will reduce weight and complexity. Smart materials based on a lightweight and simpler actuation system will enable the development of adaptive structures that can morph, or change shape, during different phases of flight. Advanced materials will enable high-power-density electrical components and a lightweight power transmission system for large commercial hybrid electric aircraft.

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