Pratt & Whitney have just been awarded a 39 month contract to develop ceramic components for gas turbine engines. The work will be carried along with United Technologies Research Center.
The contract, awarded by the Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate will see the team develop parts for a gas turbine engine designed for potential use in the Army’s unmanned aerial vehicle, in a programme worth more than $2million.
Designers have decided to try and incorporate ceramics into the engine design as they believe they will bring performance gains for the 500 shaft horsepower engine. These gains will be needed to achieve the performance goals set out for the proposed engine. Apart from weight savings and higher operating temperatures, ceramics have been chosen to try and achieve:
- A 20% reduction in specific fuel consumption
- A 50% improvement in shaft horsepower to weight
- A 35% reduction in manufacturing costs
If successful, the technology may also be used in manned aircraft.
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