Chapter 5. Opportunities for the Industrial Application of Continuous Fiber Ceramic Composites

  1. John B. Wachtman Jr.
  1. Scott Richlen

Published Online: 26 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470313008.ch5

A Collection of Papers Presented at the 14th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials, Part 1 of 2: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 11, Issue 7/8

A Collection of Papers Presented at the 14th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials, Part 1 of 2: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 11, Issue 7/8

How to Cite

Richlen, S. (1990) Opportunities for the Industrial Application of Continuous Fiber Ceramic Composites, in A Collection of Papers Presented at the 14th Annual Conference on Composites and Advanced Ceramic Materials, Part 1 of 2: Ceramic Engineering and Science Proceedings, Volume 11, Issue 7/8 (ed J. B. Wachtman), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/9780470313008.ch5

Author Information

  1. Office of Industrial Programs U.S. Department of Energy Washington, DC

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 MAR 2008
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1990

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470374924

Online ISBN: 9780470313008

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Keywords:

  • fiber ceramic matrix composites;
  • consumption;
  • emissions;
  • combustors;
  • utilize

Summary

Continuous fiber ceramic matrix composites (CFCCs) could be the enabling technology of the next generation of advanced processes and products in industry. The development of this advanced material technology would have far-reaching impact on the projected $20 billion per year worldwide market for advanced ceramics. The U.S. can reasonably hope to capture a significant portion of this market, but only if the development of these new materials is aggressively pursued. Potential benefits to U.S. industry could be significant because in the limited number of applications so far identified, U.S. energy consumption would be reduced by over 1 quadrillion Btus/year and NOx emissions would be reduced by 600 000 tons/year.

Advanced materials are recognized to be crucial to the growth, prosperity, and economic well-being of U.S. industry. The governments of the principal trading partners and competitors of the United States (including Japan, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the United Kingdom) have all targeted materials science and engineering as a growth field and are taking an active role in deciding which areas will be emphasized on the basis of their contributions to enhancing industrial competitiveness. The National Research Council in examining the role of materials in eight major U.S. industries, which collectively employed 7 million people and had sales of $1.4 trillion in 1987, found a generic need for lighter, stronger, more corrosion-resistant materials capable of performing at higher temperatures.

While advanced materials potentially capable of meeting these demands compete with one another for use in a given application, ceramics are the leading candidates where a combination of reduced weight, high-temperature strength, and environmental stability is needed. With recent advances in fiber technology, it is now possible to design a composite material system based on continuous fibers in a ceramic matrix. These CFCCs have been shown to be many times tougher (less brittle) and significantly less sensitive to flaws than monolithic ceramics. The resulting potential for improved reliability, coupled with the ability to tailor the properties of these materials through the selection of fibers, fiber architectures, and matrix compositions, makes them attractive for use in a variety of applications across a wide spectrum of industrial segments.

These CFCC industrial applications have the potential to reduce energy consumption, provide direct environmental benefits with respect to reduction of NOx emissions, and enhance U.S. industrial productivity and competitiveness. Of the spectrum of possible industrial applications for CFCC, several that are readily identifiable could, by themselves, result in annual savings of 0.8 quadrillion Btus/year of energy. An additional savings of 0.4 quadrillion Btus/year could be enabled by the use of CFCC in power generation. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that an 80–85% reduction in NOx emissions is required to achieve global atmospheric stabilization. The potential for NOx reduction from reduced fuel use and identifiable CFCC-enbled pollution abatement products, such as radiant burners and catathermal combustors, is estimated to be approximately 0.6 million ton/year or 9% of the current total emissions per year from industry and electric power generation. These materials could also effect the competitiveness of U.S. industry. If CFCC component technology is developed and implemented outside the U.S., domestic equipment manufacturers will utilize foreign industry for fabrication. This encourages investment in capital equipment and training that enhances foreign competitiveness at the expense of U.S. companies, allows the knowledge gained to be applied to the manufacture of other parts for export to the U.S. and the world, and provides non-U.S. companies with the value added in ceramic part manufacturing.

The realization of the benefits of CFCCs, however, requires a high-risk, long-term program to develop reliable and cost-effective processing methods. Reports by the National Research Council, the Office of Technology Assessment, and the National Academy of Engineering have recognized the need for increased U.S. emphasis on processing and an integrated industry, university, and government research program to successfully develop the necessary technology.