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MATERIALS TECHNOLOGY


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Hollow vanes keep things cool


Sacrificial ceramic cores are being used on China’s latest airline engine to create hollow passages for cooling.


T


he completion of China’s first turbofan jetliner engine has been achieved with the manufacturing support of Morgan Advanced Materials’


Technical Ceramics Business. The company has developed the ceramic cores, which are essential for the creation of hollow air passages in the engine’s turbine blades. The CJ-1000A engine is being


developed for China’s first passenger jet – the COMAC C919 – which is due to be rolled out from 2020. The new engine will replace the imported


engines which were used during the aeroplane’s development. The engine design uses hollow turbine blades and vanes to reduce overall weight and provide internal cooling passages to prevent the blades overheating when in use. To achieve hollow blades with the required combination of light weight and robustness, ceramic cores are placed in the centre of the mould during casting of the components. Morgan Advanced Materials was commissioned to create these ceramic cores at its ceramic core manufacturing facility in Wuxi, Jiangsu. Morgan worked with the engine manufacturers and designers to achieve the exact dimensions required for the internal cooling passages. The cores are manufactured in heat-resistant materials that can withstand the casting process without compromising the integrity of each blade’s superalloy construction. Once cast, the ceramic core is leached out to leave the blade hollow. In total, Morgan has supplied four core designs to support the casting of stage 1 and 2 blades and vanes. To date, over 1000 individual cores have been manufactured. These numbers will rise significantly when the aircraft enters


16 /// Aerospace Test & Validation 2018


mass production, as 600 engines per annum will be required to meet the forecasted target of 150 aircraft a year. “This is a ground-breaking project for


the Chinese aerospace industry and we’re delighted to play such an important part in getting this pioneering engine into production. This is a great example of how Morgan can provide customers with a combination of global expertise and local support, to deliver advanced materials that help manufacturers to push back the boundaries of what they can achieve,” explains Raymond Gao, General Manager of the Morgan’s Ceramic Core Technology facility, which has manufactured the components for the project. The first demonstrator of the CJ- 1000A engine rolled off production late last year and is host to a number of advanced technology features. As well as the hollow titanium fan blades produced using the Morgan ceramic cores, the engine also has 3D printed fuel nozzles, according to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Such technology advances improve


performance and reduce weight and consequently fuel consumption and emissions supporting the sustainability ambitions of the narrow-bodied COMAC C919 airliner. n


❱ ❱ The COMAC C919 airliner’s newly


developed CJ-1000A engine uses complex hollow fan vanes to improve cooling efficiency


CERAMIC CORES


❱ ❱ Ceramic investment casting cores are ideal for creating very small or complex cavities


Ceramic cores have properties that make them ideal for use as a sacrificial material in aviation investment casting. They can be used for the formation of extremely small or complex cavities and they have very good thermal stability to withstand the high temperature casting process. Crucially, the ceramic materials


produced by Morgan have specific properties that enable them to be chemically leached out of the casting, leaving a clean cavity. The ceramic cores are available in different material compositions to provide the most appropriate match for the alloy that is being cast.


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