By Dr. Cameron Chai
Nippon Carbon, a developer of a wide range of products by using the excellent characteristics of carbon, has formed a joint venture (JV) with Safran and GE to manufacture and distribute Nicalon, a silicon carbide (SiC) continuous fiber.
The material is used in CFM International’s next-generation of aircraft engines. The NGS Advanced Fibers JV will be based in Chuo-ku, Tokyo and it will operate manufacturing facilities in Toyama-shi, Toymama, Japan.
Nicalon is a lighter and stronger ceramic fiber with high thermal resistance. The fiber is used by GE’s CMC Programs to develop ceramic matrix composite materials (CMCs) for next generation of high performance aircraft engines. The composite materials will offer several benefits to GE’s customers, including better durability, superior performance and reduced weight. In addition, the CMC materials will help to minimize fuel consumption. LEAP engine is the new engine that is being developed by CFM International, a JV between Safran and GE. The engine will be used in next-generation aircraft such as the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus A320neo and COMAC C919. The CMC materials will be used to design the LEAP engine’s components and currently the demand for CMCs has increased to over 3,300 LEAP engines.
Nippon Carbon’s President, Shigeo Tajima, noted that the demand for high-performance materials for aircraft engine components is expected to increase ten times in the upcoming decade and the company plans to meet this market demand through its JV. Nippon Carbon will own a 50% share in the JV, while Safran and GE will have a 25% share each.