BOEING FRONTIERS / MAY 2013 29 a Next-Generation 737-800. (For more about the ecoDemonstrator program, see Page 20 in the October 2012 issue of Frontiers.) Getting the ceramic matrix composite engine nozzle to this point, where it is about to be flight-tested on an airplane, represents a significant engineering accomplishment, according to Petervary and others with the program. In addition to benefits such as longer life, lighter weight and noise reduction, the nozzle can withstand extremely high temperatures. And that’s critical. Because today’s high-efficiency jet engines emit hotter exhaust gases, they require materials capable of with-standing higher temperatures than titanium or superalloys, which have been industry standards for decades. But no one had used the ceramic matrix composite material in this way before, and that was one of the significant challenges engineers faced. Researchers spent several years in the laboratory testing and developing materials of increasingly large scale before more intense testing began earlier this year. They started with flat samples of the material, slowly scaling up to the full-size nozzle. Frank Doerner, vice president of Materials, Processes & Structures Technologies for BR&T, noted that engineers created the largest ceramic matrix composite structure ever made. The nozzle is about the size of a Smart car, but weighs 30 percent less than a similar-size nozzle made of tradi-tional materials. “In the past five years, finding new applications and innovative designs based on these types of materials has gone from labs to flight-ready,” Doerner said, adding that engineers have demonstrated that ceramic composites “will be part of the future of flight.” The successful ground tests on the full-scale engine nozzle represent a huge milestone for the technology, providing insight into how the nozzle will perform during upcoming flight tests on ecoDemonstrator, according to Petervary. A key to this significant accomplishment, he added, was Boeing’s close working relationship with the propulsion team from Commercial Airplanes’ Product Develop-ment organization and with Rolls-Royce. “Everyone is benefiting from the knowledge being shared,” Petervary said. That message is underscored by Larry Schneider, vice president of Prod-uct Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The potential of CMCs to improve airplane fuel efficiency,” Schneider said, “is exactly the type of revolutionary tech-nology that we are looking to accelerate through collaboration with the FAA and the entire Boeing enterprise, and flight testing on the ecoDemonstrator.” n email@example.com “This was a big step forward for the technology, and I know our customers are going to appreciate the benefits.” – Mitch Petervary, Boeing team leader PHOTOS (Clockwise from top left): The Boeing and Rolls-Royce team makes final preparations inside the Stennis control room; Boeing team leader Mitch Petervary; inside the control room before nozzle testing begins; computer monitors keep close watch on the test site; a monitor shows thermal readouts from the test; a Rolls- Royce engine and CMC nozzle (center).
Frontiers May 2013 Issue
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