Application of ceramic materials in aerospace

- Jun 09, 2020-

Engineering ceramics are increasingly used in commercial and military aircraft, and were used in space shuttles and their equipment many years ago.

Ceramic applications include thermal protection systems in rocket exhaust stacks, insulation tiles for space shuttles, engine components and ceramic coatings embedded in aircraft windshields. These coatings are transparent and electrically conductive, which keeps mist and ice away from the glass.

Ceramic fibers can be used as a fire and heat protection system for aircraft and space shuttles because they are heat-resistant, lightweight, and non-corrosive. Other excellent properties include high melting temperature, high resilience, high tensile strength and chemical inertness.

Non-oxide ceramics called silicon nitride have excellent high temperature strength, excellent fracture toughness, high hardness and unique tribological properties. Silicon nitride aerospace applications produce excellent mechanical reliability and wear resistance, allowing components to be used under minimal lubrication conditions without wear. These components include jet engine igniters, bearings, bushings and other wearing parts.

Space travel becomes possible

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Advanced ceramics play a key role in developing highly efficient and cost-effective new technologies for space travel. The Morgan Technical Ceramics Division of Germany has been cooperating in European space development projects for many years to support the research of its ion propulsion system. As a lightweight alternative to traditional chemical propulsion, ion engines have the potential to push the spacecraft ten times higher with the same fuel consumption, thereby significantly reducing the size of the propeller and increasing its movement distance.

Ion propulsion technology, which uses electricity to ignite heavy gas atoms, so that the spacecraft advances with high speed acceleration, and traditionally uses quartz discharge vessels, now quartz has been replaced by ceramic oxides called alumina because Materials with the same dielectric properties but with higher structural stability. Alumina is easier to manufacture and provides good thermal shock resistance, and also ensures that the room can withstand the extreme temperatures generated during plasma ignition. At the same time it is also lighter, which also reduces the cost associated with each launch.

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